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OS X Yosemite Launch Brings Fully Functional iCloud Drive to Mac and iOS

With yesterday's launch of OS X Yosemite, Apple's iCloud Drive file storage system is now functional across the company's products. Many users were frustrated following the launch of iOS 8 last month by the incompatibility between the new iCloud Drive system used with that operating system and the previous Documents in the Cloud system used on OS X Mavericks. The difference in launch dates between iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite temporarily left some users unable to sync their documents between devices if they elected to upgrade to iCloud Drive on their iOS devices.

That issue is now fixed with OS X Yosemite launching to the public, and Craig Federighi gave a very brief walkthrough of the feature at yesterday's media event, outlining how Mac and iOS apps can automatically generate their own folders for file storage accessible across devices and platforms.

iCloud Drive can also be used in a similar manner to Dropbox, Box, and other cloud storage services in that any type of file can simply be dragged and dropped into the iCloud Drive folder on Mac or iCloud.com and be synced across devices. Access is a bit more limited on iOS where there is no iCloud Drive app allowing access to all files, but the service still allows users of iCloud Drive-enabled apps to view and save files related to that app that are stored and synced with iCloud Drive.

Apple's iWork updates yesterday extend compatibility beyond the core OS X and iOS apps, and APIs are available to allow third-party developers to offer iCloud Drive support for their apps.

iCloud Drive taps into users' general

What's Coming in iOS 8.1: Apple Pay, SMS Relay, Instant Hotspot, Camera Roll, and More

During yesterday's iPad-centric media event, Apple executives announced that the first major update to iOS 8, iOS 8.1, would be released to the public on Monday, October 20.

First seeded to developers at the end of September, iOS 8.1 promises to bring a quite a few significant features to the operating system, offering new services and finally allowing Yosemite users to access the full functionality of Continuity.

While some major Continuity features like Handoff and Phone calls on the Mac are working for users who have both an iOS 8 device and a Mac running OS X Yosemite, other features, like SMS relay and Instant Hotspot will not be available until Monday, when iOS 8.1 is released.

With SMS relay, both Macs (running Yosemite) and iOS devices like iPads are able to receive SMS messages that have been routed through a user's iPhone. Currently, while iPads and Macs can receive iMessages, SMS messages are limited to iPhones. When SMS relay is functional, an SMS message that has been received will be forwarded to iPads and Macs, and users will be able to answer all of their messages on any device. It's also possible to start SMS-based conversations directly on a Mac or iPad.

Instant Hotspot is another facet of Continuity that will be enabled with iOS 8.1. This feature lets a Mac remotely activate the Personal Hotspot capabilities of an iPhone when the two devices are near each other. The Mac can automatically detect an iPhone with Hotspot and users can connect to a Hotspot via the Mac's Wi-Fi menu without needing to remove the iPhone from their pocket.

iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Now Available for Pre-Order

Apple has begun accepting online pre-orders for the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 in the United States and several other countries around the world. Rumors have suggested that initial supplies of the iPad Air 2 might be somewhat constrained, so prospective buyers should make their purchases as soon as possible. All models are currently showing shipping estimates of 2-4 business days in the U.S. store.

AT&T is also accepting pre-orders on cellular models of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 with shipping estimates of 6-10 business days.

Announced on October 16, Apple’s second-generation iPad Air offers several significant improvements over the original iPad Air, including a thinner design, an A8X chip, Touch ID, 802.11ac, support for LTE Advanced, an improved 8-megapixel camera with an f/2.4 aperture, and an anti-reflective screen coating that cuts down on glare.

The iPad mini 3 offers the same internals as the iPad mini 2 (aka the iPad mini with Retina display), but it does come with Touch ID and a new gold color option.

Available in white/silver, white/gold, and black/space gray, the iPad Air 2 is available in 16, 64, and 128GB configurations, with the Wi-Fi only models priced at $499, $599, and $699, respectively. Wi-Fi + Cellular models carry a $130 premium over Wi-Fi models and are priced at $629/$729/$829 for 16/64/128GB capacities.

The iPad mini 3 is also available in white/silver, white/gold, and black/space gray, and it also comes in 16, 64, and 128GB configurations. The corresponding Wi-Fi only models are priced at $399, $499, and $599, while the

Apple Store Down Ahead of iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 Pre-Orders

Apple has taken its online store down to prepare for the launch of iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 pre-orders. When Apple announced the two new tablets, it said pre-orders would be available starting on October 17, although the company did not specify when exactly pre-orders would start.

Given the short amount of time between the announcement of the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 and the start of pre-orders, it is unclear whether other retailers and carriers will be prepared to offer iPad pre-orders.

Apple's iPad Air 2, which includes several upgrades like Touch ID, an A8X chip, an improved camera, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and an anti-reflective screen, is available in 16, 64, and 128GB capacities. Pricing in the United States starts at $499 for the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model and goes as high as $849 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB model.

The iPad mini 3, which has been updated with Touch ID and a new gold color option, is also available in 16, 64, and 128GB configurations. Pricing for the iPad mini 3 begins at $399 for the Wi-Fi only 16GB model and goes as high as $729 for the Wi-Fi + Cellular 128GB model.

Apple has not announced when the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 will be in stores or when the two tablets will begin shipping out to customers, giving only an availability date of "later next

First Hands-On Impressions of 27-Inch Retina iMac: Sharp Image Quality, Great Viewing Angles

After today's media event that saw the introduction of new iPads and new Macs, members of the press were invited to experience all of Apple's new products. Several sites have posted first impressions of Apple's 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, which we've summarized to give users an overview of the company's newest desktop and its ultra high-resolution screen.

Engadget says that the new 27-inch iMac has a "stunning display" with great viewing angles, and was left impressed with the all-in-one's image quality even at a resolution of 5120 x 2880. Brightness is said to be "level throughout" with no bleeding. The website also praised the extra screen real-estate that the new 27-inch Retina iMac will allow for video editing.

TechCrunch says that the iMac's display shows "full resolution photos with zoomed crops that look better than most originals coming out of the camera" and credits Apple for fitting such a panel into the same tapered design. The screen is noted as being a "huge step up" from the one found on the Retina MacBook Pro. Overall, the new 27-inch iMac is described to be "the future of desktop computing" and is even said to be right up there with Apple's Mac Pro in terms of choices for power users.

Ars Technica praises the new 27-inch iMac's color, contrast, and viewing angles, and thinks that the faster Radeon M290X or M295X GPUs with 2GB and 4GB of RAM respectively are solid upgrades over the Nvidia GeForce GT 700M GPUs found in Apple's non-Retina iMacs. However, the website did take issue with the desktop's price for what it offers internally:
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OS X Yosemite Hits the Mac App Store, Available Immediately as a Free Download

Following today's media event that saw Apple introduce new iPads and a new Retina iMac, Apple released OS X Yosemite to the public, after several months of beta testing.

OS X Yosemite is available from the Mac App Store as a free download for all eligible Macs. [Direct Link]


First introduced at WWDC in June, OS X Yosemite will do for the Mac what iOS 7 did for iOS devices. The new operating system introduces redesign that focuses on a flatter, more modern look that emphasizes translucency, smarter controls, and streamlined toolbars.

OS X Yosemite doesn't just bring a fantastic new look to the Mac, it also includes several major features introduce unprecedented levels of integration between iOS and OS X. With Continuity features like Handoff, for example, users can begin a task on one device and finish it on another with a seamless transition. SMS relay features, meanwhile, will let Mac users answer calls from their iOS devices.

Other improvements include a "Today" view in Notification Center that integrates with third-party apps and an improved Spotlight search that pulls data from new sources. Several core apps have been updated with new features, with Safari gaining a revamped look and Mail gaining tools like Mail Drop, for handling large attachments, and Markup, for annotating images right within email messages.

Macs will need 2GB of RAM to run Yosemite, along with 8GB of storage. Snow Leopard must be installed for Mac App Store access, but the Yosemite software itself is available as a free download, much like Mavericks was last year.

Update: Many

First Hands-On Impressions of New iPad Air 2: Ultra-Thin, Improved Display, Better Camera

After Apple introduced the new iPad Air 2 at its media event today, members of the press were invited to go hands-on with the new tablet. Several sites have now begun publishing their hands-on first impressions of the iPad Air 2, which we've gathered up below to provide an overall impression of the new device.

Image courtesy of Gizmodo
TechCrunch says that although the iPad Air 2's resolution is the same as the iPad Air, the display looks better than the previous models. By combining screen components, Apple has made "things look a lot more touchable". The effect is similar to that of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which makes the display seem like a "high resolution mock-up, rather than an actual display you can interact with and change."

Image courtesy of The Verge
Gizmodo notes that Apple shaving off .04 pounds and 1.4 mm from iPad Air makes the iPad Air 2 feel lighter than the smaller iPad mini 3 even though it's a quarter of a pound heavier than Apple's new 7.9-inch tablet.
Not only is it way, way thinner than the smaller iPad mini 3 — and this will sound crazy — but it feels lighter too. Even though it's nearly a quarter of a pound heavier, the 6.1mm-thin chassis is so thin and easy to lift with a single hand that it makes the mini seem downright fat by comparison. I feel like I could hold it over my head in bed without any worry of smacking myself. Not something I can say about any other 10-inch tablet.
The Verge has similar thoughts on the iPad Air 2's thinness, saying it feels like "there's almost nothing left to take away" and that holding the device is

New Cellular iPads Include 'Apple SIM' in U.S. and U.K. for Multi-Carrier Compatibility

Historically, users purchasing cellular versions of iPads have had to choose their carrier at the time of purchase, with Apple shipping a device specifically configured for use on that carrier. But with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, Apple is launching a new "Apple SIM" included with devices purchased in the United States and United Kingdom.

For U.S. users in particular, the Apple SIM allows users to easily move among AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint by taking advantage of short-term data plans as needed. And with EE participating in the UK, even access while abroad is simplified. And of course the system should work equally well for UK customers traveling abroad to the United States.

Apple outlines the Apple SIM on its iPad Air 2 wireless feature page:
One SIM. Many options.

The new Apple SIM is preinstalled on iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The Apple SIM gives you the flexibility to choose from a variety of short-term plans from select carriers in the U.S. and UK right on your iPad. So whenever you need it, you can choose the plan that works best for you — with no long-term commitments. And when you travel, you may also be able to choose a data plan from a local carrier for the duration of your trip.
Apple notes in an explanatory pop up on its iPad Air 2 store page that Verizon is not a participating carrier and Verizon customers will need to visit Verizon stores to activate cellular service on their

Apple Posts Full Video of Today's Special iPad and Mac Event

Apple Announces 27-Inch iMac With Retina 5K Display Starting at $2500

At today's media event, Apple announced the next-generation 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display carrying a resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels, as expected from recent rumors. Featuring 14.7 million pixels, the new iMac offers improved improved contrast, viewing angles, and color accuracy.

Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.
The base iMac with a Retina 5K display will be available with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel i5 processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB Fusion Drive starting at $2,499 with shipping beginning today. The new Retina iMac models can be upgraded with 4.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics processor. All Retina iMac models come standard with two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

The remainder of the iMac lineup has not been updated, with the 21-inch model still starting at $1,099 and the 27-inch iMac without a Retina 5K Display starting at $1,799.

Apple Announces iPad Air 2 with Thinner Profile, Touch ID, and A8X Processor

At today's media event, Apple introduced the all new iPad Air 2. The second-generation tablet features an ultra thin profile that's just 6.1mm thick, much thinner than the 7.5mm original iPad Air. The significantly thinner design was enabled through the use of a gapless laminated display panel that also produces sharper images. In addition to a thinner chassis, the new iPad Air also includes a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, a faster A8X processor, a new 8-megapixel iSight camera, and an anti-reflective coating that reduces glare by up to 56 percent.

According to Apple, the iPad Air 2 is 18 percent thinner than the first-generation iPad Air and its A8X chip features a 2nd-generation 64-bit architecture which is 40% faster than the A7 used in the first iPad Air in terms of CPU performance up to 2.5x faster when it comes to GPU performance. Like its predecessors, the iPad Air 2 gets 10 hours of battery life and it also includes an M8 motion coprocessor that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, and an all-new barometer that senses air pressure to determine relative elevation.

Apple has added a Touch ID fingerprint sensor to the iPad Air 2, which was said to be the "most requested feature from customers." With Touch ID, iPad Air 2 owners can use their tablets to make Apple Pay purchases within apps that support the Apple Pay API. The iPad Air 2 does not have NFC support and thus cannot be used to make purchases in retail stores.

The iPad Air 2 has gained 802.11ac Wi-Fi with multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) capabilities. Apple states

OS X Yosemite Available Today, iOS 8.1 Coming Monday

During today's media event, Apple announced that OS X Yosemite, the next version of its Macintosh operating system, will launch today on the Mac App Store. OS X Yosemite will be available for free to all users with an eligible machine, and iOS 8.1 will also be available on Monday for Apple's mobile devices.

As detailed in our comprehensive OS X Yosemite roundup, the new operating system brings a new iOS 7-style design with an emphasis on translucency, smarter controls, and streamlined toolbars.


There are also several new features, including Continuity, which expands integration between iOS 8 and OS X, allowing users to accept phone calls on their Macs and seamlessly transition tasks from one device to another. Yosemite also includes iCloud Drive, plus new features and designs for several key apps like Mail, Messages, and