All things iPod, iPhone, iPad and Beyond | iLounge

Review: Apple Pencil for iPad Pro

iLounge has been rating styluses for years, but it's always been a bit of a niche category — by design, no one has actually needed an iOS stylus before, and even the best of the styluses so far have required users to make some sort of concession, whether in features, accuracy, or price. Apple Pencil ($99) for iPad Pro is different, then, and not just because it's an official Apple stylus. Pencil and iPad Pro have been built to work in tandem with each other, which allows the stylus to do more than your typical accessory. iPad Pro can sense when Apple Pencil is being used, and according to Apple, the subsystem scans Pencil's signal 240 times per second, making it a fast, nearly latency-free stylus. Pencil is said to last for 12 hours of normal use on one charge, and it can be recharged using the built-in Lightning connector.

Apple reaches deal with UnionPay to bring Apple Pay to China

Apple has struck a preliminary agreement to use UnionPay’s point-of-sales network to bring Apple Pay to China, Bloomberg reports. Sources familiar with the negotiations said UnionPay, China’s largest payment network, aims to introduce Apple Pay as soon as next year, but noted that the two companies haven’t signed firm agreements with Chinese banks on linking local bank cards to the service. That information seems to conflict with yesterday’s report that Apple had reached deals with China’s four largest state-run banks to link Apple Pay with local bank accounts, with sources now saying some banks have lingering concerns about the fees charged by Apple Pay and the low number of users the service has worldwide. Apple Pay takes in 0.15 percent of each purchase made through its system — which comes out of the 2 percent fee paid by retailers in the U.S. — but that rate has proven too high in China, where the total fee paid by some retailers is only 0.38 percent.

DisneyLife subscription-based app launches in the U.K.

Disney has launched the subscription-based app DisneyLife for U.K. residents ahead of a planned global roll out, offering unlimited access to movies, shows, music, books, and more for £9.99 a month. The service provides unlimited streaming within the U.K. and downloads that expire after 30 days without an Internet connection. Users running the app on Apple devices with iOS 8 or iOS 9 installed can stream HD content, but videos downloaded for offline viewing aren’t available in HD. While there’s no native Apple TV version of the app, content from the app is supported on Apple TV through AirPlay with one catch: All audio and video is streamed in standard definition.

Apple buys motion capture company Faceshift

Photo: TechCrunch

Apple has acquired Faceshift, a motion capture company best known for its work on creating animated characters for the new Star Wars film, TechCrunch reports. Faceshift’s technology records a person’s facial expressions in real time, allowing that information to be used in creating realistic faces for animated characters in movies or rendering custom avatars for players within video games. With several Faceshift employees now working for Apple out of Europe, speculation about how Apple will use Faceshift’s capabilities has centered around identification or security applications. Apple kept quite about buying the company when rumors first circulated earlier in the year, and has since issued its usual statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Apple already owns several patents in the areas of facial recognition, augmented reality and motion capture.

Daily Deal: Pay What You Want Learn to Code Bundle

In our iLounge Deal for today it’s time for the Pay What You Want Learn to Code Bundle. From HTML5 to Ruby and Python and beyond, this set of courses provides over 92 hours of instruction to help you become a developer. Pay what you want for Git Complete: The Definitive, Step-By-Step Guide and Learn Cloud Computing with AWS and if you beat the average price, you’ll receive the fully upgraded bundle, including AngularJS: From Zero to Hero, Become a Professional Python Programmer, Build Responsive Real World Sites with HTML5 & CSS3, Become a Certified Web Developer, Learn Linux in 5 Days & Level Up Your Career, PHP & MySQL Web Development From Scratch - Build 5 Projects, and Advanced Ruby Programming: 10 Steps to Mastery. Best of all, 10% of the profits from your purchase will go toward Project HOPE, who delivers essential medicines and supplies, health expertise and medical training to respond to disaster, prevent disease, promote wellness and save lives around the globe.

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Tip of the Day: Reducing loud sounds on the new Apple TV

Another small new feature added by Apple in the new fourth-generation Apple TV is the ability to adjust the dynamic range of your audio input. This is particularly useful for watching TV later at night, or anytime you prefer to use lower volume levels so as not to disturb others — it enhances detail such as spoken dialogue, while softening music and other loud background noise.

Review: IK Multimedia iRig Pro DUO

We were very impressed with IK Multimedia's original iRig Pro when it came out two years ago — it's an accessory that does an excellent job of blending functionality from the company's prior iRig PRE XLR microphone interface, iRig HD guitar interface, and iRig MIDI adapter into a single unit that was even better than the sum of its parts. Now, IK Multimedia has released the "deluxe version" we predicted two years ago, and taken the design a step further with iRig Pro DUO ($200), a unit that adds a second channel to the multi-interface functionality of its predecessor along with a more elegant design and several additional small but useful enhancements. As with IK Multimedia's other accessories, iRig Pro DUO provides a standard Core Audio and Core MIDI interface into iOS devices, meaning it will work with almost all iOS audio and MIDI applications as well as IK Multimedia's own apps such as AmpliTube, SampleTank, and Mic Room, for which IK Multimedia also provides free gear upon registering iRig Pro DUO.

Apple CarPlay included in 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage

Mitsubishi is the latest auto maker to jump on the Apple CarPlay bandwagon, adding the feature to its 2017 Mirage. The hatchback is the first Mitsubishi model to offer the entertainment system, putting the company a year behind competitors GM and Volkswagen, which included CarPlay in select 2016 models.

Apple aims to launch Apple Pay in China by February

Apple is planning to launch Apple Pay in China by early February, The Wall Street Journal reports. After grueling negotiations, the company has struck deals with China’s four major state-run banks, people familiar with the discussions said. While Apple may still face serious regulatory hurdles, the company is hoping to launch its digital payment service before China’s Spring Festival on Feb. 8. Apple officially began the process of bringing Apple Pay to China in June, when it registered to operate in the Shanghai free-trade zone as Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd. Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly said he’s “very bullish on Apple Pay” in China — where iPhone sales are actually starting to outpace demand in the U.S. — but several other competing mobile payment options already exist within the country. Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

Daily Deal: HyperDrive MacBook Storage Expander

Looking for an easy way to add a bit of extra storage to your MacBook? Today in iLounge Deals you can pick up the HyperDrive MacBook Storage Expander for only $19.95. This handy little microSD adapter provides a really simple way to expand your MacBook storage using just a microSD memory card. It sits completely flush with your SD memory card slot and even includes an aluminum cap that matches your MacBook finish, so it will sit virtually invisibly inside your MacBook, acting as a second solid-state drive. Simply pop in your microSD card of choice – microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC cards are all supported, in capacities of up to 512GB.

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