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    DOWNLOAD: On this week's all-star episode, we welcome columnist Kirk McElhearnMacworld's "iTunes Guy," who will explain why he's cut back on his Facebook activities. He'll also profile iTunes 12, the OS X Yosemite-savvy version, and consider whether he should replace his relatively new Mac Pro with a 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display.

    You'll also hear from cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider, who will bring you up to date on the platform wars. He'll cover the differing concepts of tablets from Apple and Android, Google's Android Lollipop and Microsoft's Windows 10 operating systems, and why he believes both companies are out of ideas. He'll also discuss why he believes Samsung, the largest maker of Google smartphones, wants to ditch Android.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — October 18, 2014

    For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.

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    About Android Boredom

    October 16th, 2014

    It's been a while since Google had a major Android upgrade, one that merited a full version number increase. After a few years of 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4, modest updates all, there's Android L 5.0, now confirmed to be Android Lollipop. This is said to be the most significant change in Android in quite a while, but what does it offer in the real world?

    With iOS 7, Apple made a substantial change in the looks, a flat-style interface with a parallax view to convey dimensionality. Good or bad, it ended up on 91% of all iOS gear until replaced by iOS 8. In passing, adoption of iOS 8 is beginning to surpass iOS 7, though it's happening at a slower rate than its predecessor. Maybe it just didn't look different enough. All right, there are other reasons that I've covered previously. But let me continue.

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    Is Apple Making the Case for the iPad?

    October 15th, 2014

    Let's put all this in perspective. Before the iPad arrived, the typical tablet computer was basically a notebook with a touchscreen. The display might swivel, it might be removable, but it was all a variation on a theme. One thing is certain, though, and that is the fact that, after being touted for years by Microsoft as the next great thing, tablets never succeeded in the mass market.

    The 2010 introduction of the iPad changed a lot. Rather than derive from a notebook, the iPad came across, at first glance, as a larger iPod touch in physical form. The internal workings were the same or similar to the iPhone, minus the telephone and the larger display. Over time, apps took advantage of the larger screen real estate, and, with an accessory physical keyboard, you might actually have a thinner and lighter replacement for a notebook.

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    Yet Another Fingerprint Fantasy

    October 14th, 2014

    They talk about art imitating life, but more often than not, there's only a slight resemblance of the former to the latter. Take a recent episode of a police detective procedural, the rebooted "Hawaii 5-0," which had a plot device that might present concerns about the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on an iPhone. Before I go on, though, remember that TV dramas are obviously just fiction, even if they are loosely based on facts or ripped from the headlines. Besides, this particular show has no such pretense, but the public might still get the wrong idea.

    Here's how the story played out. It seems that three bikini-clad women staged a robbery on a touring bus, stealing, among other goods, a smartphone from a man who is shot and killed during that scene. Shortly thereafter, someone pretending to be the guy's wife visits the medical examiner's office and manages to grab his thumbprint. The staff doctor isn't smart enough to realize something is amiss. But it's strongly implied that the thumbprint will be used to gain access to smartphone.

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    Newsletter Issue #776: What Gear Does Apple Need to Refresh?

    October 13th, 2014

    When Apple schedules a media event, there's a teaser, a phrase or two to convey possible hints and drive speculation as to what's to come. But what does Apple mean by, "It's been way too long"? Too long for what?

    Predictably, especially tech writers who cover Apple, are wondering about the products that haven't been updated in a while, assuming they will be, in part, among the bill of particulars. But you also have to wonder just how many product lines can fit into a single session. After all, this event is scaled down compared to the September extravaganza that included the new iPhones, Apple Watch, and a guest appearance by U2.

    So perhaps Apple doesn't have anything near as critical to the company's bottom line, but still there are products that sorely need a refresh. Yet the most common speculation is about the iPad, which had its last refresh roughly a year ago. So that's pretty much par for the course, though I suppose their might be more changes afoot this time to help boost flagging sales. Or it may be a predictable upgrade with the usual faster processors, maybe better cameras, and surely Touch ID.

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