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12
Oct

Apple Releases Safari Technology Preview 15 With Bug Fixes and Feature Tweaks


Apple today released another update for Safari Technology Preview, the experimental browser Apple first introduced in March of 2016. Apple designed the Safari Technology Preview to test features that may be introduced into future release versions of Safari.

Safari Technology Preview release 15 includes bug fixes and updates for fetch API, JavaScript, CSS, web APIs, Web Inspector, media, accessibility, URL handling, and Safari Extensions.

Starting with release 14, Safari Technology Preview includes regular updates and bug fixes for Safari’s WebDriver implementation.

The Safari Technology Preview update is available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store to anyone who has downloaded the browser. Versions are available for developers running both macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan. Full release notes for the update are available on the Safari Technology Preview website.

Apple’s goal with Safari Technology Preview is to gather feedback from developers and users on its browser development process. Safari Technology Preview can be run side-by-side with the existing Safari browser and while designed for developers, it does not require a developer account to download.

Tag: Safari Technology Preview
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12
Oct

Apple Seeds Third Beta of watchOS 3.1 to Developers


Apple today seeded the third beta of watchOS 3.1 to developers for testing purposes, just over one week after seeding the second beta and a month after releasing watchOS 3 to the public. watchOS 3.1 has been in testing since September 21.

watchOS 3.1 can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software Update. To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone. watchOS 3.1 requires an iPhone running iOS 10 to install.

watchOS 3.1 appears to focus on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements rather than outward-facing changes, as no new features were discovered in the first two betas. Should any changes be found in the third beta, we’ll update this post.

watchOS 3 brings a new interface to the Apple Watch, with a dedicated App Dock and instant launch apps. There are new Activity sharing features, a “Breathe” app guides you through daily deep breathing sessions to cut down on stress, and there are new Reminders, Find My Friends, and Heart Rate apps.

Three new watch faces are included, and an SOS feature can automatically call emergency services. A revamped Messages app makes it easier to reply to incoming texts, plus there’s a new “Scribble” feature for writing replies on the Apple Watch face with a finger. For more details on what’s new in watchOS 3, make sure to check out our watchOS 3 roundup.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
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12
Oct

HP Chromebook 13 review – CNET


The Good The HP Chromebook 13 has a lightweight, portable and posh aluminum design.

The Bad It’s more expensive than other Chromebooks, and the Chrome OS is naturally limited.

The Bottom Line The HP Chromebook 13 satisfyingly combines the cloud-based simplicity of the Chrome OS with a stylish modern design, even if it’s expensive for a Chromebook.

If a Chromebook and the Apple MacBook Air had a baby, it might look like the HP Chromebook 13.

This HP laptop has a slim and sleek aluminum design that almost rivals the $999 Apple MacBook Air in portability and polish. Its all-metal, anodized aluminum chassis is more durable and eye-pleasing than less expensive, plastic Chromebooks.

However, with configurations starting at $499 and going up from there, it’s expensive in comparison to most Chromebooks, such as the $299 Acer Chromebook 11 or $149 Hisense Chromebook.

If you’re interested in a laptop for casual use, like streaming Netflix, reading email or checking Facebook, most Chromebooks fit the bill. And if you don’t mind paying extra, the HP Chromebook does it with faster performance and more style.

For the binge-watcher

  • 13.3-inch screen
  • 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution; 3,200 x 1,800-pixel resolution
  • B&O-branded audio

The HP Chromebook’s screen looks sharp and bright for everything from reading Reddit threads to streaming “Stranger Things.” But as I sometimes forgot, evident by the fingerprint smudges on its screen, it lacks a touchscreen. (It’s common for Chromebooks to have touchscreens.)

The laptop is light enough to comfortably prop up on your lap in bed while rewatching “Friends” for the 89th time and doesn’t get too hot even after long video viewing marathons. The screen also has great viewing angles, so no matter how it’s tilted, the image is clearly visible.

Above the keyboard there’s a speaker grille that stretches across its entire length. The B&O-branded dual speakers are loud enough to watch a movie with a friend or two, but sound quality is tinny at high volume.

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Backlit keys are always a plus.

Josh Miller/CNET

For the writer on the go

If you’re carrying around a laptop everyday for work or school, the less cumbersome, the better. And as much as I love a big screen, sacrifices have to be made for portability.

The HP Chromebook 13 hits that perfectly portable 13-inch sweet spot. It was as unintrusive as the 13-inch MacBook Air that I carry to work every day. Like my MacBook, it barely made a dent in my bag and wasn’t a burden to bring along to after-work happy hours (don’t worry, I kept it in my bag the whole time!) or last minute errands.

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Packed with two USB-C ports

Josh Miller/CNET

Anything smaller than a 13-inch laptop makes for a cramped keyboard, and the HP’s compact keys took me some time to get used to. Though I quickly got comfortable with it., I still preferred the more spacious feel of typing with my 13-inch MacBook Air.

The keyboard is also backlit, making it easy to see in dimly lit environments, but it can’t flip over to use the laptop as a tablet, like the Acer Chromebook 11’s keyboard can. If you’re flirting with the idea of a laptop-tablet hybrid, that’s something to consider. (I already have a tablet, so I never had the need to use the laptop in that manner, making it a moot design point for me.)

12
Oct

Which storage size should you buy for your Google Pixel: 32GB or 128GB?


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Deciding whether to get a 32GB or 128GB Pixel comes down to two things: budget and usage habits.

One of the biggest decisions to make when ordering your new Pixel or Pixel XL is how much internal storage you want, and your options are 32GB and 128GB. Neither the Pixel or the Pixel XL support microSD expandable memory, so you’re locked into whichever size you decide on.

There are a number of factors to consider before pressing that buy button, so let’s break it down.

What 32GB actually gets you

It wasn’t too long ago that 32GB of internal storage in a smartphone was a maxed-out spec. In just a few short years we’ve now reached the point where it’s considered the “budget” option.

On paper, 32GB might seem like more than enough space for installing all of your favourite apps and games, with ample room left over to fill with photos, video and all other types of media. But as AC’s own Alex Dobie points out, you may want to know just how much of that space is taken up by disk formatting and core system files. Dobie figures you should expect to have 23GB of storage available to you after initial set up.

You should expect to have 23GB of available storage after formatting and OS installation.

If you love filling your phone with your favorite media, or enjoy playing high performance games with sharp graphics and steep storage requirements, your storage space might run out rather quickly with the 32GB model, especially since the phone doesn’t have a microSD slot. If you typically use music streaming services such as Spotify or Google Music, and video streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu (and really who doesn’t these days?), 23GB of usable storage may well accommodate your needs just fine be enough.

Then again, if Google’s Daydream VR platform has you drooling, you’ll probably want to future proof your phone by going with the 128GB model to ensure you’ve got ample space to store and try out every VR experience.

Photo/Video Storage

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Google is claiming the Pixel’s camera is second to none, which is exciting news for any budding smartphone photographer. With the camera quality so highly touted, you’ll definitely want to turn every settings knob to 11 just to see what it can do. Storing high-quality photos and videos on your phone is notorious for gobbling up all your available storage.

But Google is offering an amazing reprieve for those who love to snap and shoot the world around them. Pixel owners will be able to upload an unlimited number of photos and videos at the highest quality — including 4K video — Google Photos. That means you can take all the photos and videos you want, keep the best ones on your phone, and back everything else up to the cloud. This will help ease the storage crunch for the 32GB, but obsessive photographers might still want to opt for the 128GB option to allow more space for editing and storage right on the device, as well as shoot in RAW.

Price

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For most people the decision is ultimately going to come down to what fits best into their budget. If you opt to buy an unlocked Pixel, it starts at $649 for the 32GB model, while the Pixel XL starts at $769. Upgrading to the 128GB model from either phone will add $100 to the price. Looking at the difference between a $649 32GB Pixel and an $869 128GB Pixel XL could mean the difference between meeting your budget and shooting way past it.

There are different financing and carrier deals available depending on where you live. In the U.S., there are decent financing options via Google and Project Fi, but we recommend not getting your Pixel through Verizon.

In Canada, buying a 32GB Pixel through Google starts at $899, and a 32GB Pixel XL starts at a whopping $1049 — that’s before taxes — so needless to say it’s a pretty major purchase especially if you’re considering adding another $130 to upgrade to the 128GB variant. Multiple Canadian carriers are offering contract deals on the Pixel and Pixel XL, but the two of the three — Bell and Telus — are all only offering the 32GB option. Rogers and its subsidiary Fido are offering the larger 128GB model.

In the UK, you can buy an unlocked version of the 32GB Pixel from Google starting at £599 and a 32GB Pixel XL starting at £719, with an extra £100 to upgrade to the 128GB model both ways. There are a couple financing options available for UK residents through the official network partner for the Pixel, EE, and through Carphone Warehouse.

Speed

While we can’t say with any certainty until we have both phones in hand, devices with smaller storage densities typically perform more slowly than those with larger ones. It’s unlikely to make a substantive difference in the performance of your Pixel or Pixel XL, but if you’re trying to eke as much value as possible from your latest smartphone, it may be a good idea to opt for the 128GB model.

Bottom Line

Whether or not you upgrade to the 128GB Pixel or Pixel XL will depend largely on your own smartphone usage habits, whether your wallet is prepared to take a hit, and the availability in your region or through your preferred carrier in some cases.

More: Which color Pixel should you buy?

Given the purported camera advancements and compatibility with Google’s Daydream VR, we’d recommend opting for the 128GB option where possible because bigger is better and it will help future-proof your phone so you’re not reaching your storage capacity only a few months down the line. Unlimited backups for all your photos and videos via Google Photos will be a lifesaver if you end up settling for the 32GB model.

Which size did you order, and how did you justify your decision? Let us know in the comments!

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL hands-on preview
  • In pictures: Google Pixel and Pixel XL
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Verizon is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Google Pixels
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store
Verizon

12
Oct

Google Pixel: Everything you need to know


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Google’s new Pixel phones have arrived — this is what you need to know.

We’ve seen the announcement, we know some of the main details — now it’s time to learn all we can about the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL. These latest phones are the first made entirely under Google’s control, following in the footsteps of the two Chromebook Pixels and the Pixel C tablet.

That makes these phones interesting from a hardware perspective, wearing just the “G” logo on the back and taking on some neat design cues, but also in terms of how the software and features are deeply integrated into these aluminum blocks. Here’s everything you need to know about the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.

Nexus is dead. Long live Pixel

The new Pixel and Pixel XL are of course not Nexus phones by brand, but they clearly carry on the legacy of the line. They come from Google, are sold unlocked and epitomize the complete Google experience.

If you owned (or lusted after) Nexus phones in the past for their simplicity, direct support from Google and clean integration of Google’s own apps and services, you’ll be served just as well by the new Pixels.

More: Should you upgrade to the Pixel XL from the Nexus 6P?

There are some Pixel-exclusive software features

One thing that differs with these latest Google phones is that the Pixels have exclusive software features that won’t be coming back to previous Nexus phones in an OTA update. The biggest feature on the list is Google Assistant, which is built right into the Pixel’s software and accessed through the home button. It isn’t part of Android 7.1, but something tied to the Pixels right now. The Pixels also have advanced camera processing and features, which technically could work on the Nexus 6P because of its similar hardware, but in likelihood will be kept Pixel exclusive.

More: There are some features Google isn’t sharing with other Android makers

We don’t know exactly which features will be just time-limited exclusives, which will be brought over with a different implementation and which will stay exclusive to Pixels forever. But you can know that Nexus phones’ software won’t look or act the exact same as a Pixel does today — that’s even more true for other phones that eventually receive Android 7.1 updates.

You get 24/7 support built in

It’s not necessarily a software feature at its core, but part of the justification of the Pixels’ high prices is the inclusion of live 24/7 support direct from Google. The support is built right into the settings of the phones, and lets you quickly contact Google for a phone call or chat to talk about what’s going wrong with your phone.

Much like Amazon pioneered on its Fire tablets, Google can also start a screen sharing session with you so you can literally show your exact problem to the support person and figure it out while on the phone. It’s these sorts of things you may not think about all the time, but when you just can’t figure out a problem it’s great to have it there. The feature may be particularly useful if you’re looking at the Pixel for a less tech-savvy family member or friend — you’re no longer the tech support!

Two sizes, same phone

Google’s branding for the Pixel phones is a tad confusing, as the name used in marketing is just “Pixel” while we of course we know there’s more than one phone available. But the way you should look at this is just two different screen sizes of the same phone: a 5-inch Pixel, and a 5.5-inch Pixel XL.

The phones are identical in terms of internal specs, build, hardware quality, features and software — there are just three differences to note: the Pixel XL has a larger 5.5-inch display, a higher 2560×1440 resolution, and a larger 3450 mAh battery. That compares to the Pixel’s 5-inch 1920×1080 display and 2770 mAh battery.

The drop in screen resolution shouldn’t be too upsetting considering the still-high pixel density at 5 inches, and of course when the body gets smaller the battery is going to shrink as well. Battery life shouldn’t drop off much considering the smaller screen and resolution. Really, this comes down to how much screen you need to get your daily tasks done, and how much you can manage in your hand and pocket.

More: Google Pixel vs. Pixel XL: Which should you buy?

Yes, they’re expensive

The standard Google Pixel starts at $649, with the larger Pixel XL at $769. An extra $100 in either case will bump the internal storage to 128GB. Those are absolutely top-end prices, competing directly with Samsung, HTC, LG and of course Apple. Whether these phones are worth that price to you is a personal decision, but Google is certainly trying to make a compelling case.

One thing to keep in mind here is how the Pixels fit in with the full retail prices of the Nexus phones that came before them. Aside from the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5, which both set an abnormally low expectation for price, Nexus phones have regularly broken the $500 and $600 price levels for their respective years — from back at the Nexus One launch, up to the Galaxy Nexus and on to the Nexus 6 and even Nexus 6P. They haven’t all been as inexpensive as we like to remember.

Where to buy the Google Pixels in the U.S.Where to buy the Google Pixels in CanadaWhere to buy the Google Pixels in the UKWhere to buy the Google Pixels in India

Updates come from Google, guaranteed

One of the most compelling reasons to buy a phone from Google is software updates. Not only will the Pixels be supported by two years of guaranteed Android platform and feature updates, but you’ll also be getting monthly security patches for three years as well. Those updates won’t be such a pain to take, either, as Android Nougat introduced seamless updates that get in place in the background and apply quickly on reboot.

There are lots of phones with really cool software features right out of the box, but it’s their shaky continued support a year or two down the road that make us take pause. If you don’t want to worry about when or where your future software update is coming, the Pixels should be your top choice.

You can buy from Verizon, but shouldn’t

When Google announced the Pixel and Pixel XL it touted the fact that a deal was made with Verizon as the exclusive U.S. carrier for the phones. Thankfully, you don’t have to buy the phones from Verizon — and in our opinion, you shouldn’t.

More: Don’t buy your Google Pixel from Verizon

If you buy the Pixel or Pixel XL from Verizon, you’re going to potentially have future Android updates delayed due to Verizon’s testing. There are also a few “bloatware” apps from Verizon pre-installed on the phones, which you may not use. The bootloader is also encrypted, meaning if you want to tinker with your phone you’ll be out of luck.

Our recommendation is to buy the Pixels from the Google Store.

You should look at Project Fi, however

If you’re looking to switch carriers after getting your Pixel, you may want to look into switching to Google’s own carrier offering called Project Fi. It’s an awesome carrier that doesn’t tie you down with contracts, agreements, lengthy bills or overage charges — it’s all about simplicity, just like the Pixels.

With Project Fi, your Pixel will actively switch between using Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular networks depending on which is best, and will also jump on open Wi-Fi outside of your house as well as let you make calls and texts over any Wi-Fi network. It’s just $20 per month to start, plus $10 per gigabyte of data you use, no matter how much you use. You’re refunded for data you buy but don’t consume in the month, and you can even use that data outside of the U.S. with no extra fees. There’s even a group plan where you can bring along your family to Project Fi.

You can get a Project Fi SIM card for free when you order your Pixel, or if you already have one on the way you can pick up a SIM card when you sign up for Project Fi online.

Undecided? Hop in the forums!

There’s so much to learn about Google’s new Pixel phones, and even when you get to know more it can often lead to even more questions. If you’re still on the fence of whether or not to buy a Pixel, or have a specific question to discuss, the Android Central forums are the place to be!

Google Pixel + Pixel XL

  • Google Pixel and Pixel XL hands-on preview
  • In pictures: Google Pixel and Pixel XL
  • Pixel + Pixel XL specs
  • Understanding Android 7.1 Nougat
  • Verizon is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the Google Pixels
  • Join the discussion in the forums!

Google Store
Verizon

12
Oct

Digital Offers: Master JavaScript and code like a pro for only $29!


JavaScript is the engine that powers all modern browser, like Chrome and Firefox, and learning this dynamic language is your ticket to a career in front-end development, building frameworks and libraries. Alongside HTML and CSS, Javascript is among the three core language of the internet. Think of it as the Batman in the internet’s Trinity. Learning it is invaluable, especially if you’re looking for a career in development of any kind.

Learning in a classroom setting can be boring and taking all these extraneous electives and requirements that colleges and universities have is costly, time-consuming, and annoying (no, I don’t want to take Drama 1001; I want to learn JavaScript. I don’t care if this year’s musical is “Anything Goes”!). So you need courses that you can take on your own time and you need courses that start from scratch, especially if you’re not 100% about your career path.

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Lucky for you. Android Central Digital Offers has the Essential JavaScript Coding Bundle. It features 15 courses on JavaScript and beyond, to which you’ll receive lifetime access. So if you only have time to learn JavaScript in your spare time, you can, and it can take years if you want. And why pay over $1000 for these courses, like you would elsewhere? Instead, pay only $29 at Android Central Digital Offers, a savings of 97%!

You’ll learn the ins and outs of JavaScript, from building application using popular frameworks to improving the efficiency of JavaScript code developing mobile apps, using Angular and Ionic. If you have any interest in learning JavaScript, now is the time to do it and Android Central Digital offers is the place to get the courses you need, and for only $29.

Whether you want to dive headfirst into JavaScript or you just want to dip a toe in the water, don’t go paying over $1000 for the courses you need to get you going. And why have those courses be finite? Get lifetime access to the Essential JavaScript Coding Bundle for only $29! Only at Android Central Digital Offers!

See at Android Central Digital Offers

12
Oct

Microsoft HoloLens now available in the UK, if you’ve got almost £3,000 handy


Microsoft is now taking pre-orders for its HoloLens augmented reality headset in the UK and a few other countries outside the US.

You can order the headset through the Microsoft Store website in Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the UK. It costs £2,719 for the Development Edition HoloLens ($3,000 in the US) and will ship from November.

The AR device has been available to American and Canadian customers since March this year and plenty of developers and software engineers have created tools and utilities for it already.

Unlike a virtual reality headset, such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR, the Microsoft HoloLens has a clear visor that allows computer graphics to be overlaid onto real world objects.

  • Microsoft HoloLens preview: An augmented vision that’s still very much in the future
  • Halo 5 on HoloLens hands-on: A gaming match made in Heaven?

It is pricey but self-contained, in that it doesn’t need to be connected to a separate computer. All the processing, storage and other PC tech is in the headset itself.

Pocket-lint has tested prototype models in the past, with practical and gaming applications. But it’s only with a wider rollout that more of its potential might be realised.

“When we set out to pioneer the mixed-reality category, we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered when others got their hands on the technology,” said Alex Kipman, technical fellow for Microsoft’s Windows and devices division.

“It has been quite inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created. Together, we have only scratched the surface for what mixed reality can do. I can’t wait to see what happens next as we welcome these new countries to our holographic landscape.”

12
Oct

Google’s Curio-Cité shows you a different side of Paris


Anyone can visit Paris, but even residents like myself can’t just stroll into Mayor Hidalgo’s office or go backstage (and underneath) the Opéra Garnier, the venue that inspired Phantom of the Opera. So you may be interested in Google’s latest Curio-Cité project that lets you stroll through ten “forgotten corners” of Paris.

Along with a tour of the mayor’s office and opera house, you can see Tour 13, a condemned high-rise building that’s housing the world’s largest street art exhibition. It also takes you to the 145,000 square foot “nave,” or central area of the Grand Palais built for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, on a boat down the Seine river, around Roland Garros stadium, and inside the Arènes de Lutèce, (Lutetian Arena) built between the first second century.

It’s the latest interactive tour for Google, which also offered inside looks at Abbey Road in London and five US national parks. The company has also hinted that there are more Curio-Cité visits to come. Check it out here, on Android or iOS, or Google Cardboard and other virtual reality headsets. It’s not the same as being here in person, but with a baguette, some Camembert, a glass of Bordeaux and a VR headset, you can do a decent simulation.

Source: Google

12
Oct

Muscle-mimicking soft robots can help with physical therapy


Some soft robots can wriggle into tight spots and swim like a real octopus. These ones developed by a team from the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), however, are also capable of doing something more: they can help with the physical rehabilitation of people recovering from injuries and illnesses. The EPFL team have created a number of flexible, reconfigurable machines that can mimic human muscles’ movement. They’re made of silicon and rubber — though the team also made a variant using a thick paper shell — and they can be controlled by manipulating how much air they have inside.

One of the medical devices they created with their soft robots is a belt that keeps patients upright and controls their movements during rehabilitation exercises. As you can see above, the current version is made of several, sausage-like soft robots, hooked to big, external pumps that can regulate their air pressure. The researchers are working to scale those pumps down, though, so they can be strapped to the belt itself. In the future, these squishy machines could lead to safe and flexible exoskeletons, perhaps something similar to Harvard’s that was designed to help patients regain control of their lower limbs.

Source: EPFL

12
Oct

Apple will build an R&D center in China’s Silicon Valley


Apple needs China a little more than China needs Apple, which is why the company is bending over backwards to show some love to the Middle Kingdom. VentureBeat is reporting that the iPhone maker will open a research and development center in Shenzen, the Silicon Valley of Hardware. The site quotes Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock saying that the facility will help Apple’s engineers work “even more closely and collaboratively with our manufacturing partners.” Given that Shenzen is home to Foxconn City, the site where several Apple products are assembled, it makes sense that Apple would push for an official presence in the region.
The site quotes local news sources as saying that Tim Cook held a meeting with Shenzen officials while at a Chinese innovation event, and was joined by Foxconn chief Terry Gou. It’s not the first time that Apple has pledged to build facilities in the country this year, with Cook pledging cash for a research and development building in Beijing back in August. That project is designed to increase cooperation with a country that’s been increasingly wary of Apple’s presence.

China very quickly became a key driver of iPhone growth for Apple, but as the smartphone market has stalled, those figures have begun to droop. The firm wants to demonstrate that it’s in for the long haul, however, and is using its financial muscle to put down roots in the country to assuage twitchy regulators. As well as pledging to build two facilities, the company pumped $1 billion into Uber-rival Didi Chuxing (which subsequently merged with its frenemy). That sort of cash should go some way in easing the fears of officials who want to protect local companies, which is one of the reasons China banned the iTunes Movie and iBooks stores earlier this year.

Source: VentureBeat

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