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Review: Misfit Flash Fitness + Sleep Monitor

Misfit's new Flash ($50) is a simple, inexpensive fitness and sleep tracker. Modeled after the company's earlier Shine (review), which was released late last year, Flash retains a very similar form factor and near-identical features, but does it with cheaper materials. Instead of Shine's aluminum disc, Flash gets by with an even simpler TPU/polycarbonate disc. The obvious upside is a much lower price. Flash isn't quite as waterproof as Shine — while Shine is waterproof to 50m deep, Flash is only waterproof until 30m, though that's more than enough for most people. The two trackers measure the same things: steps, distance, calories burned, and sleep quality and duration.

Review: Just Mobile Xtand Go Z1

Four years ago, we reviewed Just Mobile's original Xtand Go, a $40 car mounting solution for bare iPhone 3G and 3GSes. Then in 2012, we briefly checked out Xtand Go for bare iPhone 4 and 5 models. Both were initially priced at $40, but were subsequently dropped in price, then augmented by a somewhat less elegant but case-compatible version that was confusingly released under the same name. Now Just Mobile has released Xtand Go Z1 ($35), a sequel that restores the elegance of the 2012 model, yet includes both case compatibility and support for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Daily Deal: Get the SOScharger USB Pocket Charger for only $49.99

Today in iLounge Deals you can pick up the SOScharger USB Pocket Charger for only $49.99. Featuring a 2,300 mAh battery and an integrated hand-generator, this charger can provide you with unlimited power simply by cranking the handle to charge it back up. It’s portable enough to fit into your pocket and has a standard USB output for universal compatibility.

Get the SOScharger USB Pocket Charger now for only $49.99

Notes from Apple’s Q4 2014 earnings call

Apple’s conference call after announcing its Q4 2014 financial results kicked off with Apple CEO Tim Cook discussing the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Pay, Apple Watch, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3, the new iMac with a Retina 5K Display, iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite.

Getting to the financial results, Cook announced that Apple saw its strongest growth rate in seven quarters, with a new record for Apple’s September quarter revenue. “Fuelled by the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and strong demand for previous iPhone models, we set a new September quarter record for iPhone,” Cook said. He also noted that they set an all-time record for App Store revenue, which grew 36% since last year, and cumulative app downloads have now topped 85 billion.

Cook spoke with enthusiasm about the landmark partnership Apple forged with IBM to bring its Mobile First solutions to enterprise customers, with solutions launching across six sectors next month: banking, government insurance, retail, travel, and telecommunication.

Apple CFO Luca Maestri talked about how Apple exceeded its guidance range due to better than expected sales of iPhones and Macs due to customer demand growing year-over-year. iPhone sales grew over both developed and emerging markets, with 17% growth year-over-year in the U.S., and growth of over 50% in Latin America and the Middle East. Maestri went on to note that iPhone demand in the enterprise market remains strong, with 75% of surveyed corporations planning to purchase iPhones in the coming quarter. Referring to lower iPad sales, Maestri indicated that channel inventory was reduced in anticipation of the new iPad releases, and sales were consistent with Apple’s expectations, and sales increased in Japan year-over-year. iPad also continues to lead in the education market with a 90% share.

Apple also announced that it would be changing how it reports revenue categories beginning in Q1 2015, with the new categories being iPhone, iPad, Mac, Services, and Other Products. Apple Pay revenue will be reported under “Services” alongside iTunes content and App Store apps. iPod and Apple Watch revenue will now be grouped into “Other Products” alongside the Apple TV and iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other accessories manufactured by Apple.

Apple Q4 2014: 39.3M iPhones, 12.3M iPads, 2.6M iPods, $42.1B revenue

Apple reported its fourth quarter 2014 financial results today, selling 39.3 million iPhones, 12.3 million iPads, and 2.6 million iPods. The company posted quarterly revenue of $42.1 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share. In Q4 2013, Apple had revenue of $37.5 billion and net profit of $7.5 billion, or $1.18 per diluted share. Gross margin was 38 percent compared to 37 percent a year ago. International sales contributed to 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

“Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said. “With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”

“Our strong business performance drove EPS growth of 20 percent and a record $13.3 billion in cash flow from operations in the September quarter,” Apple CFO Luca Maestri said. “We continued to execute aggressively against our capital return program, spending over $20 billion in the quarter and bringing cumulative returns to $94 billion.”

Despite the year-over-year increase in iPhone unit sales, the results notably included a year-over-year decline in iPad and iPod sales. iTunes/Software/Services and Accessories categories both posted healthy gains of 8 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

First Look: Speck MightyShell for iPhone 6

Speck's new MightyShell ($50) case for iPhone 6 adds extra protection — and a bit more bulk — to the company's acclaimed CandyShell design. MightyShell has a rubberized bumper that's slightly larger than CandyShell, with raised inner springs cushioning the phone inside the case. The additions collectively double the military grade protection, and the case is backed by a lifetime warranty. Currently a Best Buy exclusive, MightyShell comes in five different colors. We'll see how it stacks up to Speck's other offerings.

Mac: APC Back-UPS Connect BGE90M

We were intrigued when APC released the original $50 Back-UPS Connect some months ago, and now it has an even more compelling model called Back-UPS Connect BGE90M ($65). Occasional power interruptions are inevitable, and without a source of backup power, you can lose everything from home lighting to Internet connectivity and digital home telephone service in one fell swoop. Think of Back-UPS Connect BGE90M as the way to keep your cable modem, Wi-Fi router, and other Internet-dependent hardware running when the power goes out. It starts with a battery capable of fueling three power outlets for up to six hours, then adds twin USB ports to help you keep your iPhone or iPad going until power comes back.

Apple releases Apple TV Software Update 7.0.1

Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 7.0.1, the latest feature and content update for its set-top box. Apple has yet to update its release notes, so it’s unclear exactly what has changed in this latest update, it seems likely that it includes general bug fixes and performance improvements as well as changes related to the release of iOS 8.1 earlier today.

An Easy Guide To Setting Up + Using Apple Pay In iOS 8.1

One month after the release of iOS 8.0, Apple officially rolled out iOS 8.1 today with a major new feature: Apple Pay, the Touch ID-powered digital transaction software. As of now, Apple Pay is solely available for U.S. users of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, though it will also be supported — partially — by the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 once they are released later this week. Here’s a look at the Apple Pay setup process, which is somewhat more complicated than was initially expected when the service was announced in September.

 

Review: PowerSkin Pop’n 2 for iPhone 6/6 Plus

PowerSkin's Pop'n 2 ($70) is a new battery pack made for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Like the original Pop'n (review) for iPhone 5, Pop'n 2 is an external battery that uses suction cups to attach directly to the back of the iPhone, with a small, flexible micro-USB to Lightning connector supplying the power. Unlike the past iteration, the updated Pop'n 2 offers double the battery power — 4000 mAh — and 2.1A charging speeds, all for $10 less. Pop'n 2 also comes with a micro-USB to USB cable for charging the battery, and a thin plastic shell for the iPhone 6, though the case isn't necessary to use the battery.






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