Name your price for 5 killer audio/video Mac apps [Deals]

Nowadays we’re awash in audio and video, but working with either format can be a hassle. This bundle of five apps from Leawo Software makes it easy to capture, transfer, and edit almost any form of audio and video you’re likely to encounter, whether it’s from the web or a DVD. The best part though […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple Watch Hermès Collection Now Available for Purchase Online

As reported earlier in the week, the special edition Apple Watch Hermès collection today became available for purchase online, letting customers purchase the high-end editions from the online storefronts of both Apple and Hermès. The collection comes in ten models, all branching off of three band varieties – the Single Tour, Double Tour, and Cuff – and was introduced by Apple at its September iPhone event.

Each model of the Hermès collection includes a stainless steel Apple Watch case, and gives users a unique Hermès clock face for the wearable device. The pricing for the collection begins with the Single Tour band for $1,100, Double Tour for $1,250, and Cuff for $1,500. The Single Tour is the only one of the collection available in both 38mm and 42mm case sizes, with the Double Tour exclusively sold in 38mm and the Cuff only available in 42mm.

To purchase one of the Apple Watches in the Hermès collection, visit the online store of Apple or Hermès.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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MacRumors Gift Guide by Mitch: Pad & Quill Accessories, HoverBar for iPad, Beats Pill, and More

Throughout the week, MacRumors writers and editors have been sharing their gift guides to help our readers pick out the best surprises for everyone on their holiday list this year. Following Juli and Joe, today’s my turn to detail a list of Apple-related products perfect for gift giving.

This third gift guide was written by me, Mitchel Broussard, with a focus on the third-party accessories I tend to use the most. Outside of that realm, there’s a handful of items here that I don’t own, but which I’ve had my eyes on over the years and that I’ve heard positive things about from friends and family. All-in-all, everything in the guide should satisfy the Apple Watch, MacBook, iPad, and iPhone owners on your own personal shopping list.

Apple Watch Gift Ideas

One of the best third-party Apple accessory manufacturers is Pad & Quill, whose products are well worth investing in if you’re willing to spend a little extra money. With a big focus on products made from natural leathers and woodgrains, the company’s entire lineup is infused with a homemade, natural feel that tends to gel nicely with Apple’s slick design. I thankfully got a few of their Apple Watch products in to review this year, and I’ve stuck with using most on a daily basis.

Pad & Quill Timber Nightstand ($89.95) / Timber Catchall ($99.00)

The Pad & Quill Timber Nightstand is the go-to home base for my Apple Watch. Its footprint is compact enough to fit on a small bedside table, but roomy enough to provide extra space for a band or two to hang out behind the charging cradle. The stand comes in two attractive color options (I have the lighter American Cherry, but Exotic Sapele will be perfect for those who prefer a darker stand) and supports Nightstand Mode, along with both closed-loop and open-loop bands.

The Timber Nightstand (left) and Timber Catchall (right)

Even with all of that aside, my favorite part of the Timber Nightstand is its sturdiness; it feels solid and substantial, despite its small 4.7 by 6.2 inch frame. Still, if you’re looking for bigger, Pad & Quill sells the somewhat massive Timber Catchall as well, which will net you a resting spot for your iPhone and a nook for change or keys for about $10 more than the Timber Nightstand (both models vary in price, depending on wood grain).

Pad & Quill Classic Apple Watch Band ($99.95)

On the wearable side, Pad & Quill’s Classic Apple Watch Band is a nice alternative to Apple’s Classic Buckle, and at $99 you can save around $50 if choosing to go with Pad & Quill’s leather band. I wore the Chocolate Leather version pretty much daily during the early fall months and genuinely loved the look of it. Like most true leather products, the band begins to fold and crack and fade over the weeks to give it a personal, used-in quality. Although it may not have the Classic Buckle’s clean edges and slim clasping mechanism, it’s arguably the second-best high-quality leather Apple Watch band out there right now.

The Classic Apple Watch Band in Chocolate by Pad & Quill

Check out the Lowry Leather Band ($109.95) and Lowry Leather Cuff ($129.95) for alternative, more intricate designs. All of the company’s bands are sitting in pre-order states currently, but are promised to arrive before Christmas. The Classic Band option I first mentioned also lets you choose the metal color to match the Apple Watch’s casing, so be sure to know whether the person on your list has a stainless steel or space black stainless steel Apple Watch.

The Lowry Leather Band (left) and Lowry Leather Cuff (right)

Pad & Quill Tidbits

Perfect for stocking stuffers and big presents alike, the company’s website is full of great ideas for any Apple fan this holiday. Of note are the Luxury Travel Kit ($119.99) and Luxury Travel Pouch ($119.99) that give the company’s Apple Watch Pocket Stand (included) and extra bands a snug, safe home during travel. There’s also the particularly impressive Roll Top Leather Backpack ($319.00), and other similar bags, if you’re looking to spend a little extra cash on gifting a unique, hand-crafted, and long-lasting storage solution for Apple devices and beyond. The company even extends its rustic-inspired roots to a few neat iPhone and iPad cases that are sure to make an Apple product stand out in a crowd. I haven’t personally used any of the items on this tidbit list, but I’m sold on Pad & Quill’s faithfulness to design in any capacity.

Roll Top Leather Backpack (left) and Luxury Travel Kit (right)

Composure Collection by Rest (~$210)

Filed under the „Don’t Own, But Want“ list, Rest’s Composure Collection offers Apple fanatics an OCD-level of organization for all of their favorite products with magnetically attachable partitions that you can mix-and-match at your leisure. The Phone Bed, Apple Watch Dock, and Organizer Bed ($74 each) give users little home bases for an iPhone and Apple Watch, plus glasses, change, and keys.

Charging cables need to be provided by the user and the beds are little more than designated organizational areas for your favorite Apple products, but nonetheless, there’s an attractive simplicity to Rest’s Composure Collection that would also kill two birds with one stone if you’re looking for multiple charging solutions for someone on your gift list. The company’s currently running a promo where new users can get $10 off your first order if you agree to sign up for their „infrequent“ newsletter, so now may be the right time to bite the bullet on the collection.

Retina MacBook Gift Ideas

Although it may not be the most in-demand item this holiday season, if you know someone who is getting Apple’s ultra-thin Retina MacBook as a gift, you’d be doing them a favor in buying some of the following accessories for the 12-inch laptop.

The MacBook comes with just two sources of input: a 3.5mm headphone jack and a new USB Type-C port that acts as the double-duty location to provide charge to the computer and open itself up for any potential accessories. To help beef up the capabilities of your loved one’s new computer, start with a basic USB to USB-C adapter.

Satechi Type-C USB Adapter ($14.99) / Apple USB-C to USB Adapter ($19.00)

One of the cheapest, no-frills options is Satechi’s basic Type-C USB Adapter. It’s small and lightweight enough to toss in a backpack but doesn’t feel cheaply made. If the person you’re shopping for prefers to stay in the Apple family, at a $5 price increase Apple actually offers its own form of this device in the USB-C to USB Adapter. If you know they’ll require connecting to external HDMI or VGA enabled displays (both run $79.00), Apple has you covered there too.

SanDisk Dual USB Drive Type-C ($37.99)

But maybe the best option for the simple transferring of files from a USB-C computer like the MacBook to a traditional USB port is the SanDisk Dual USB Drive Type-C, a little thumbdrive that morphs together the dual power of each input into one device. What this means is that you can plug it into the new MacBook in the USB-C side, transfer a few files onto the 32GB drive, remove it, and then plug the other side in to a traditional USB port found on most computers.

Without the need of a somewhat awkward dongle that Satechi and Apple offer, SanDisk found a way to cut out the middle man, and it’s been my go-to for file transfers most of the year. The drive runs $64.99 on SanDisk’s site, but places like Best Buy and Amazon are offering it for around $40.

Waterfield Dash MacBook Sleeve ($59)

Sleeves and protective cases are perhaps the most ubiquitous third party accessory for any Apple product, and as such there are plenty of options even for the 8-month old Retina MacBook. Still, since I went hands-on with one of the first earlier this year, I’ll mention WaterField Design’s sparse yet highly functional Dash MacBook Sleeve. With two simple pockets – enough to fit the MacBook, its charging cable, and maybe a few of the previously mentioned accessory dongles – the Dash is perfect for someone who prefers form and utility over brazen style.

Dash MacBook Sleeve (left) and Anchor Sleeve (right)

Retina MacBook Cases and Sleeves

But if you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t mind a little color, there are plenty of options at your disposal. Incase’s classic Hardshell Case ($49.95) now comes in a 12-inch MacBook option and with a mix of safe and bold colorways. The Herschel Supply Co.’s 12-inch Anchor Sleeve for MacBook ($39.95) is a unique option as well, with some diverse designs from floral to color-blocked neon pink and aqua.

Headphone Gift Ideas

YurBuds Inspire 400 Earphones ($39.95) / Powerbeats 2 Wireless Earphones ($129.99)

Shopping for quality headphones that surpass Apple’s own bundled-in EarPods can be a bit of an overwhelming task. I still rely on the company’s EarPods for day-to-day music playback, but they’re definitely lacking for more extreme, outdoor environments. As such, for the headphones section of my guide, I’ll focus on those that I’ve gained particularly lasting mileage out of while running or generally working out.

My favorites are YurBuds’ Inspire 400 Earphones, which I got for Christmas about three years ago and have yet to stop using. They take some getting used to, but the unique in-ear FlexSoft silicone inserts feel secure yet unobtrusive, even after long periods of use, and the lanyard’s multi-functional volume/playback controller gives the earphones the same functionality as Apple’s headphones. Most importantly, in all my time with the YurBuds, I’ve never had them accidentally fall out while running or get ruined from sweat, making them a great workout companion.

YurBuds Inspire 400 (left) and Powerbeats 2 Wireless (right)

Similarly to YurBuds, Beats’ Powerbeats 2 Wireless headphones offer a secure high-intensity option for users looking to listen to music while working out. The big difference is that Beats’ headphones are wireless and connect to an iPhone through bluetooth, particularly useful without the connective cord of a headset hanging between your iPhone and ears while running. The battery life on the Beats isn’t exactly impressive, however, so keep that in mind if you’re buying for someone less likely to remember to charge yet another electronic device in their life. The Powerbeats 2 run for $199.95 on Beats’ official website, but you can find them on Amazon right now for $129.99.

Miscellaneous Gift Ideas

HoverBar 3 for iPad ($59.99)

Twelve South is a well-regarded manufacturer of quality Apple accessories and for good reason – their products provide unique solutions to everyday problems while sticking closely to Apple’s sleek design rules. I’ve owned a handful of their merchandise over the years, but my most recent purchase with the company has turned into an instant favorite: the HoverBar 3 for iPad.

The sturdy, malleable arm connects an iPad, iPad Air, or iPad mini to a desk or iMac to act as a second screen. Perfect for throwing chat windows or Twitter feeds off of a main work screen, or as a recipe companion in the kitchen, the HoverBar has subsequently de-cluttered my daily work station, and I love it.

Apple First Party Accessories

It’s probably obvious to mention, but some of the best gift ideas come from Apple itself. Personally, I use the iPhone 6s Plus Leather Case ($49.00), a handful of Apple Watch Sport Bands ($49.00 for 38mm and 42mm sizes) in multiple colors, and the company’s own Lightning Dock ($49.00) on a daily basis. If you’re willing to splurge, nicer Apple Watch bands like the Leather Loop ($149.00, only 42mm) and – my personal favorite – the Milanese Loop ($149.00 for 38mm and 42mm) are perfect to spruce up someone’s stainless steel Apple Watch.

Beats Pill ($149.99, varying with color)

I’ll end my guide with the item I easily rely on the most on a daily basis: the Beats Pill. Although I’m still on the older, last-gen model of the Pill (Beats By Dre recently launched the redesigned Beats Pill+), my little blue speaker has been used for hours on a near-daily basis since I purchased it sometime in 2013. The Pill is the perfect size to become your new favorite bathroom and kitchen jam session companion, and although I’m not an audiophile, it packs enough of a wallop in sound quality that it’s above-average price is justified.

Some people harp on the top-tier pricing of Beats By Dre products in general, but ever since the launch of the new speakers ($229.95), you can find the one I use for as low as $150 at resellers like Amazon (I even saw some refurbished models selling for around $120 at my local Best Buy). For something as reliable and easy-to-use as the Pill’s bluetooth iPhone connectivity, it’s a perfect, crowd-pleasing holiday gift for any music lover on your list.

The MacRumors staff will continue sharing their favorite products in the form of these gift guides over the next week, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Join in on the community curated list of cool Apple-related products over in the 2015 Holiday Gift Guide Master List to voice your own opinion on the best accessories out there.

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The best Black Friday deals to set your calendar for

There are so many Black Friday deals out there it’s incredibly difficult to keep up with them all, even for someone who’s paid to do just that. We’ve taken pity on you and have pulled the absolute best deals that we could find and added a special value-added service at the end: A single line […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Learning to build 20 iOS games will cost you 20 bucks with this lesson bundle [Deals]

If you think playing games is satisfying, try making them. Actually, try making 20. This bundle of four mobile game-making lessons from StackSkills usually goes for over $2,000. But right now the whole thing is just $20 at Cult of Mac Deals. Receive another 10% off with coupon code EARLY10. The lessons start with math […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Chase Launches ‘Chase Pay’ Payments Service to Compete with Apple Pay

JPMorgan Chase & Co today announced plans to launch its own payments service to compete with Apple Pay, reports Re/code. The news comes courtesy of Chase CEO of Consumer and Community Banking, Gordon Smith, who announced „Chase Pay“ at the Money20/20 payments conference in Las Vegas.

Chase Pay will work via QR code instead of over NFC, allowing customers to make purchases with their smartphones by showing a QR code to a cashier. If that sounds a lot like the MCX Consortium’s upcoming CurrentC platform, it’s because Chase is partnering up with MCX for its payments service.

The MCX Consortium, which promotes the QR-based CurrentC app and payments service, consists of collection of merchants like Walmart, Target, Sunoco, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Rite Aid, CVS, Lowe’s, Sears, Shell, Michaels, 7-Eleven, and more. Once available, CurrentC will be available as a payment option in all of these retail locations, as will Chase Pay.

In some of these stores, customers will be able to pay by showing a QR code within the Chase Pay app. In others, Chase customers will have to use Chase Pay inside MCX’s own CurrentC app. It’s not clear which of the MCX member retailers will support which method.

CurrentC has been in development for multiple years, giving Apple Pay an edge with its earlier release timeline. While most MCX members were originally subjected to an exclusivity agreement, that has since expired, leading several MCX Consortium members to offer support for Apple Pay. Chase itself also supports Apple Pay, allowing Chase credit cards and debit cards to be used with Apple’s payments service.

CurrentC and Chase Pay are both slated to launch in 2016.



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