MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Automatic Adapter or Get a 20% Discount

Automatic has partnered with us for our next giveaway, graciously offering one Automatic Adapter that provides information about your car's status and performance and your driving habits via a companion app. The Automatic adapter was first announced in early 2013 with recent updates last year bringing a second-generation adapter with additional functionality and the release of an SDK and App Gallery to allow other apps to use data gathered by the adapter. The Automatic Adapter retails for $99.95

The Automatic Adapter connects to a car via its ODB-II diagnostic port, which is found on most newer cars sold in the US since 1996 (Automatic offers a car compatibility checker on its site). The Adapter gathers information on mileage, gas consumption, and driving performance by analyzing braking and acceleration. It can also check engine warning codes and provide information on what's wrong. If a collision is detected through the Adapter’s accelerometer, a Crash Alert is triggered and emergency services can be contacted automatically via the paired smartphone (this feature is available in the US only).

In addition to its own free companion iPhone app [Direct Link] (an Android app is also available), the Automatic Adapter can share its information with other apps in its App Gallery, which includes apps that track mileage for business expense purposes to smart home and fitness applications. For example, a Nest smart thermostat can be triggered to adjust the temperature at home based on your car’s location so it automatically warms or cools as you leave or arrive.

To enter to win the Automatic Adapter, use the Rafflecopter widget below and enter your email address. Your email address will be used solely for contact purposes to reach the winner and coordinate the delivery of the Adapter. You can earn additional entries by subscribing to our weekly newsletter, subscribing to our YouTube channel, following us on Twitter, or visiting the MacRumors Facebook page. Due to the complexities of international laws regarding giveaways, only U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older are eligible to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This contest will run from today (January 15) at 12:00 pm Pacific time through 12:00 pm Pacific time on January 22. The winner will be chosen randomly on January 22 and will be contacted by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond and provide a shipping address. The prize will be shipped to the winner for free.

Automatic is also offering a discount code to MacRumors readers that will take 20% off all purchases made at the company’s online store. MacRumors readers can enter code macrumors20 at checkout to receive the discount.

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MacRumors Giveaway: Win an Automatic Adapter or Get a 20% Discount

CES 2016: SanDisk’s Connect Wireless Flash Drive Gets Capacity Boost to 200GB

SanDisk today announced that its Connect Wireless line of flash drives is getting a capacity boost to 200GB, giving users who want portable wireless storage even more space for their files.

“With the explosion of content, people need more advanced storage solutions to keep up with the volume and quality of the photos, videos and files they’re creating on their mobile devices,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president, product marketing, SanDisk. “Our goal is to deliver innovative, intuitive offerings that help them capture life’s great moments without worrying about storage limitations.”

The Connect Wireless line of flash drives uses the SanDisk Connect app and a password-protected Wi-Fi connection to allow users to transfer data between the flash drive and their iOS and Android devices as well as PCs and Macs. The free app [Direct Link] has also recently been updated with the ability to AirPlay content to an Apple TV and the ability to save Live Photos to the flash drive.

The 200GB SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick is available now at Amazon and SanDisk’s website for $119.99.

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CES 2016: SanDisk’s Connect Wireless Flash Drive Gets Capacity Boost to 200GB

Twitter for Mac Gets Major Update With Revamped Design, New Features

Twitter for Mac today received its most significant upgrade since 2013, introducing a range of new features to bring the Mac app in line with the iOS and web experiences. Twitter for Mac 4.0 includes an updated design with improvements to icons, buttons, and interactions, and it brings a new dark theme to change the background from white to black.

Along with a new look, Twitter for Mac is gaining several new features like inline video playback, GIF support, Group Direct Messages, a mute option, and the ability to quote tweets. All of these features have previously been available within the Twitter iOS app and on the web. Today’s update also includes a new Today Center Widget for viewing Twitter highlights in the Apple Notification Center on the Mac.

Don’t call it a comeback!

Twitter for Mac is getting the update you’ve been asking for. Now it looks and feels more like the Twitter you carry with you everyday. We’ve built in some of the most-requested features so your Twitter for Mac experience combines what you love about Twitter with the elegance you expect on a Mac. Here’s what we’ve added:

– Inline video playback – You’ll see videos play directly in your feed.

– GIFs support – See animations without leaving your timeline.

– Group Direct Messages – Create and receive private notes with up to 50 people.

– Mute – Silence specific accounts so you no longer see them in your feed.

– Today Center Widget – Get your Twitter Highlights right on your desktop.

– Dark Theme – Now you can see the world in black or white.

– Updated design – Get the latest improvements to icons, buttons, and interactions.

– Quote Tweet – Add your two cents to any Retweet.

The Mac Twitter app received a minor update in August of 2015, but beyond that, the app has gone untouched since 2014. The last major version update ahead of today’s refresh was introduced in December of 2013.

Twitter for Mac can be downloaded from the Mac App Store for free. [Direct Link]
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Twitter for Mac Gets Major Update With Revamped Design, New Features

New Update Makes Tumblr First Major Social Network to Support Live Photos

While iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users can share Live Photos with each other through services like iMessage, the hybrid image / video can’t be easily shared to social networks. Today, Tumblr updated its iOS app with Live Photos support, making it the first major social network to do so.

As TechCrunch notes, Tumblr users tend to upload, share, and re-share GIFs and other kinds of animated images, including memes, at a rapid rate, likely making Tumblr the first place where Live Photos would be widely seen and viewed.

The app was also updated with 3D Touch support. Now, users can press down on the app’s icon to search the service from their home screen, activate Live Photos, and peek and pop into other users’ Tumblrs by clicking on their name or avatar. While Tumblr does support Live Photos, they’re only viewable within its iOS app. Other updates to the Tumblr app include the ability to send a post to any Tumblr user and messaging.

Tumblr for iOS is available in the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

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New Update Makes Tumblr First Major Social Network to Support Live Photos

Microsoft Launches Official ‘Cortana’ App for iOS and Android Devices

Microsoft today officially launched its virtual assistant Cortana as a downloadable app for iOS and Android platforms (via Business Insider). Similar to Apple’s Siri personal assistant, Cortana allows Windows users to set reminders, preview the weather, and answer basic questions thanks to integrated internet search abilities. Other Cortana for iOS and Android features include the following:

•Set and get location and time reminders across your PC and phone.

•Track packages, flights, scores, stocks, and other important info across your PC and phone.

•Use Cortana’s Notebook to view, edit and manage your interests

•Get information and answers to all kinds of questions. If you’re looking for it, Cortana can help find it.

•Have a little fun in your down time — ask anything, get jokes, and much more.

Microsoft detailed a few features for Cortana at Business Insider‘s Ignition Conference in New York City, including abilities like asking Cortana for help with your voice without having to open up the app. Unfortunately, most of those features won’t be available to iOS users due to certain developer restrictions that fence off Cortana from becoming fully integrated into iOS.

On the other hand, a few Android smartphones will gain a leg up on the iOS version of Cortana thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and start-up company Cyanogen, which runs a custom version of the OS on select Android devices. With Cyanogen software, Android users will have essentially all of the abilities Windows Phone users have over Cortana, including being able to speak to the personal assistant without opening up the separate app.

After some rumors and speculation earlier in the year, in May Microsoft confirmed that Cortana would be heading to non-Windows Phone platforms later this year. In November, the company opened up beta sign-ups for users to test out Cortana for iOS in a pre-release state.

Cortana for iOS is available to download now for free from the App Store [Direct Link].

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Microsoft Launches Official ‘Cortana’ App for iOS and Android Devices

New ‘djay Pro’ App for iPad Brings Redesigned Interface, Powerful Mixing Tools, and More

Following the launch of the ultra powerful iPad Pro, Algoriddim, the developers behind the popular line of djay apps for Mac and iOS devices, set out to build a professional quality djaying app designed with the new tablet in mind.

The result of that effort is djay Pro, which is available today for both the iPad Pro and older iPads. djay Pro takes some of the best parts from the djay Pro app for Mac and refines and improves them for use on a touch screen. Algoriddim tells MacRumors that the screen size and the power of the iPad Pro allowed the app to come together amazingly fast because they were so excited by what’s possible with Apple’s latest tablet.

djay Pro is designed for professional users, but it also has a clever interface that’s able to shift and grow with skill level. Algoriddim’s Michael Simmons likened it to the layers of an onion, with users able to add or subtract layers of tools for as much simplicity or power as they desire.

At its core, djay Pro has a fresh design that’s modern and less distracting while still incorporating all of the tools a professional needs. The default app interface includes two decks along with a range of different mixing tools, but it is able to incorporate up to four decks, displayed vertically or horizontally for mixing up to four audio tracks together. Advanced performance modes offer access to horizontal and vertical colored wave forms, live sampler and drum pads, and FX racks.

The built-in music library is able to combine local music, a Spotify catalog, and files stored in iCloud Drive or Dropbox into a central location so tracks can be mixed together and manipulated regardless of where they’re stored. It also includes a song recommendation engine that’s able to suggest tracks that will go well with what’s playing.

djay Pro includes all of the video features from vjay, allowing users to create video mashups to go along with song mixes. The video features sync to the music and there are audio visual effects with video tweaks that mimic sound effects like echoes and strobes. Pre-bundled video content is included, and there’s support for title and image overlays.

djay Pro offers support for iOS 9’s split-screen multitasking feature, allowing the djay Pro app to be used with Slide Over or full Split View mode on compatible iPads. With split-screen multitasking, djay Pro has the potential to be used along with other music apps, and because it includes integration with music libraries and Spotify, it is the first app that allows users to select and control their music using the multitasking window. Apps like Spotify and Apple Music have not yet integrated multitasking support.

Specific to the iPad Pro, the new app includes a selection of more than 70 keyboard shortcuts for the Smart Keyboard that merge touch and key strokes in a unique way that can only be done on a tablet, plus access to the camera and AirPlay for recording 1080p videos and displaying them in real-time. Also unique to the iPad Pro is the ability to import and work with both 4K and 1080p video when using the app’s video manipulating features. The iPad Pro is the only device that can handle two 4K/1080p video streams at once as the Mac version only supports 720p video.

The app integrates with professional DJ hardware and Cue Points, beat grid edits, metadata, and FX purchases from other versions of djay for Mac and iOS will sync to the new djay Pro app.

djay Pro was designed with the iPad Pro in mind, so the iPad Pro is going to offer the absolute best performance with the app, but it is also fully functional on other iPads like the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 4, aside from the iPad Pro only features.

djay Pro can be downloaded from the App Store for $19.99, a limited time sale price that will rise to $29.99 in the future. [Direct Link]

In celebration of the launch of djay Pro, Algoriddim is also making djay 2 for iPhone, normally $2.99, available for free for a limited time. [Direct Link]

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New ‘djay Pro’ App for iPad Brings Redesigned Interface, Powerful Mixing Tools, and More

Duet Display Updated With iPad Pro Support, Major Performance Improvements

Second-screen app Duet Display received a significant update today, introducing a new resolution option to support Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro and bringing significant performance improvements for both iPads and Macs that run the accompanying software.

For those unfamiliar with Duet Display, it’s an app that is designed to turn the iPad or iPhone into a secondary display for a Mac. Duet Display was the first app to use a Lightning cable to allow an iPad or iPhone to interface with a Mac, thereby drastically cutting down on the lag that’s typically present when an iOS device is used as a secondary display for a Mac over Wi-Fi.

Since its late 2014 launch, Duet Display has been updated several times to improve performance on a wide range of iPads and iPhones, but according to Duet Display developer Rahul Dewan, today’s update brings „massive performance improvements.“ Improving performance was necessary to allow a Mac or PC to drive the high-resolution display of the iPad Pro while maintaining a lag-free connection, but the improvements also apply to all older iPads.

With the latest version of Duet Display, CPU usage has been reduced by over 80 percent on iPad and Mac or PC, thanks to a new algorithm that’s more efficient and an intelligent refresh feature that’s similar to the iPad Pro’s own faster refresh technology, but on the software end. Extremely high CPU usage was one of our major complaints with Duet Display when it was first released and it’s been a customer concern for some time, so this update should go a long way towards fixing one of the major pain points in the app.

Duet Display has proven to be a popular app with iPad owners as it gives the iPad the versatility to be used as a second display for a Mac. iPad Pro owners may find Duet Display to be especially useful given the large screen real estate of the device.

Duet Display can be downloaded from the App Store for $9.99 (reg. $15.99). [Direct Link]

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Duet Display Updated With iPad Pro Support, Major Performance Improvements

Uber Begins Testing Color-Coded Rider Pickup System ‘SPOT’ in Seattle

Uber yesterday announced SPOT, a new initiative to make sure drivers and riders experience less hassle finding one another in dark or crowded areas. The technology will allow someone calling for an Uber to designate a specific color so that their driver can easily spot them when arriving at the pickup location.

SPOT is the latest experiment in our ongoing effort to make Uber pickups as seamless as possible. When riders and drivers can easily find each other, we’re able to trim down wait times, which is a win for everyone. We hope you’ll have a chance to experience SPOT in the coming weeks.

Beginning exclusively in Seattle, the new program will give Uber drivers a small „SPOT Device,“ attached to their windshield. When a user requests a SPOT-enabled vehicle, they’re asked to pick a specific color within the app while waiting. When the app prompts the rider that the vehicle is driving up, they can take the app out and display their color to the driver, or simply look for their chosen color in the windshield of the car.

The company didn’t give any mention if, or when, SPOT would make it to other cities after its test run in Seattle. Those that have yet to do so can download Uber from the App Store for free [Direct Link].

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Uber Begins Testing Color-Coded Rider Pickup System ‘SPOT’ in Seattle

New ‘Sidefari’ App Allows iPad Users to View Side-by-Side Safari Windows

While Apple introduced a Split View mode in iOS 9 for iPad users to be able to use two apps side-by-side, it did not allow users to open two Safari windows side-by-side. A new app called Sidefari from developer Francisco Cantu (via MacStories) allows users to have two webpages open side-by-side to meet various browsing needs.

The app works by using Safari View Controller to open a second webpage via Split View. To activate Sidefari, all a user has to do is open the Slide Over app picker and choose Sidefari. The app also works in multiple sizes, allowing users to use Sidefari to take up either half the screen or smaller. Sidefari is only available for the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad Pro as they are the only devices that support multitasking.

Sidefari for iPad is available in the App Store for $0.99. [Direct Link]
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New ‘Sidefari’ App Allows iPad Users to View Side-by-Side Safari Windows

Zite Shutting Down December 7, Recommends Flipboard to Users

News aggregator app Zite last night announced that it will no longer be functional past December 7, with the company encouraging fans to migrate their information and preferences over to similar app Flipboard before the deadline (via VentureBeat).

Flipboard acquired Zite in 2014 after a competitive few years together in the social media and news aggregation app sphere, keeping it open but slowly appropriating Zite’s features and services into Flipboard. Zite has been hinting at its impending closure for a few months, but kept silent on whether or not it would continue to run in the face of the Flipboard acquisition until now.

„We wanted to ensure that Zite’s key functionality was available in Flipboard before asking users to migrate. Now that we’ve integrated all the major parts of the technology such as the topic engine, collaborative filtering algorithms and thumbs up and down voting, Zite will soon stop being available as its own app. Zite users have a few more weeks to import their preferences into Flipboard. We hope many of them will do this.”

Zite users will recieve a notification within the app, or a personalized email, of the impending closure, along with a step-by-step guide of how to migrate their data to Flipboard. All the app requires is the entry of Flipboard login information into Zite – a Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ login will work as well – to begin the migration process.

Similar to the newly launched Apple News, Flipboard provides customers a one-stop shop of all their prioritized daily news services. Flipboard [Direct Link] allows a bit more personalization, however, letting users construct digital magazines of favorite stories, pictures, and breaking news and share them on social media. The app was recently updated to bring full support of the larger screen on the iPad Pro, as well.

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Zite Shutting Down December 7, Recommends Flipboard to Users