What to Buy this Season

’Tis the season to be … techy! With the annual shopping season now in full swing and the holidays right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to grab some last-minute gifts for the tech lover in your life. But with countless options available, the task is often daunting. Let’s break it down.

Smartphones

Among the most popular gifts for all ages are tablets and phones. Phones such as Apple’s new iPhone 6 and Google’s Nexus 6 make excellent holiday gifts. But before you make a purchase, consider what type of phone to buy. Today, two systems dominate the mobile marketplace: iOS and Android. Both sport a range of features and are equally compelling. If you’re buying for a die-hard Apple fan, it’s a safe bet to get him or her an iPhone. However, if you’re unsure, the situation gets a bit trickier. Consider what they’ll use the phone for – school, work, play, etc. Apple’s iPhones are very popular among teens but make great gifts for any age. Many businesspeople still resort to Blackberry phones. If you’re buying for a hacker, computer enthusiast or someone who just likes to tinker with his/her phone, Android is probably a safer bet because it is a more open platform.

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Tablets

Tablets, too, make excellent gifts for all ages. When most of us think of tablets, the Apple iPad often comes to mind. The iPad has positioned itself at the top of the tablet market for the past four years and continues to be a very reliable device. For people with other Apple devices (i.e., Macs, iPhones, iPods, etc.), the iPad is a perfect gift. It’s also a fantastic education tool for students and teachers. But if you’re shopping for the Android enthusiast, grab Google’s latest Nexus 9 tablet. Built with performance in mind, the Nexus 9 sports the latest Android system (Android Lollipop), a new design, an excellent camera and brilliant screen. Like the iPad, it is available in three colors: gold, silver and black. And yes, for the Windows lovers out there, the Surface Pro 3 (which you may know from Microsoft’s comical holiday commercials) is a worthy alternative. The Surface is suited best for businesses and education as the tablet-hybrid sports a full-sized keyboard and touch screen. However, it doesn’t sport the extensive app stores that both iOS and Android devices benefit from. The surface can easily be transformed into a laptop or tablet.

Music

It’s never too late to buy for the music lover in your life. The iPod, the product that once dominated Apple’s sales, is often all but forgotten. But the iPod (especially the iPod Touch) is a valuable choice for younger kids who aren’t yet ready for a phone but old enough to be responsible with their own device. Further, Beats offers excellent headphones, stereos and its famous Beats “Pill.” Bose, too, offers worthy headphones and speakers. Beats is especially popular among teens and young adults.

Drones

Then there are drones, which you probably can’t go wrong with. A lot of people, especially aviation enthusiasts, love drones. If you’re feeling ambitious, DJI’s Phantom 2 is a fantastic choice but at a cost – more than $1,000 (but you can snag the previous generation for around half the price). Nevertheless, you’ll be able to find great prices on drones on sites like Amazon and eBay where excellent consumer-level drones often go for $100 or less.

So there you have it – a tech guide for the holiday season. There’s a ton of great tech products available on the market this year and you can’t go wrong. Happy shopping!

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How to Get the Best Apple Deals

Ok, so we all know Apple has its Black Friday deals tomorrow, but they’re not half as good as other stores that sell Apple devices.

Sites like AppleInsider offer amazing deals on MacBooks – you can grab a Retina Macbook Pro for under $1000!

Best Buy, on the other hand, is offering iPad Air 2’s for a $100 discount (retail price: $300). You can grab a non retina Macbook Pro for $899, entry level iMac for $899 or a 16 GB iPhone 6 for $99.

Apple’s clearance section also offers some nice deals (nearly $100+ off some iPad models).

Keep checking back throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, we’ll have more info…

Tim Cook officially comes out as gay in public essay about equality

Originally posted on 9to5Mac:

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In an essay published on Bloomberg’s website, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly come out as gay. Although his sexuality wasn’t really a secret, this is the first time he has officially confirmed his sexual orientation. Cook says he has relaxed this aspect of privacy to help others as part of Apple’s efforts against discrimination. The essay can be read in full at Bloomberg Businessweek.

At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.

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iOS 8.1 Now Available

This release includes new features, improvements and bug fixes, including:
Apple Pay support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (U.S. only)
Photos includes new features, improvements and fixes
Adds iCloud Photo Library as a beta service
Adds Camera Roll album in Photos app and My Photo Stream album when iCloud Photo Library is not enabled
Provides alerts when running low on space before capturing Time Lapse videos
Messages includes new features, improvements and fixes
Adds the ability for iPhone users to send and receive SMS and MMS text messages from their iPad and Mac
Resolves an issue where search would sometimes not display results
Fixes a bug that caused read messages to not be marked as read
Fixes issues with group messaging
Resolves issues with Wi-Fi performance that could occur when connected to some base stations
Fixes an issue that could prevent connections to Bluetooth hands-free devices
Fixes bugs that could cause screen rotation to stop working
Adds an option to select between 2G, 3G or LTE networks for cellular data
Fixes an issue in Safari where videos would sometimes not play
Adds AirDrop support for Passbook passes
Adds an option to enable Dictation in Settings for Keyboards, separate from Siri
Enables HealthKit apps to access data in the background
Accessibility improvements and fixes
Fixes an issue that prevented Guided Access from working properly
Fixes a bug where VoiceOver would not work with 3rd party keyboards
Improves stability and audio quality when using MFi Hearing Aids with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
Fixes an issue with VoiceOver where tone dialing would get stuck on a tone until dialing another number
Improves reliability when using handwriting, Bluetooth keyboards and Braille displays with VoiceOver
Fixes an issue that was preventing the use of OS X Caching Server for iOS updates