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Review: Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Second Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Apple’s 12.9” iPad Pro, debuted in late 2015, represented the company’s first attempt to take the tablet in a new direction, with a larger model targeted toward creative professionals or those looking at the iPad as more of a laptop replacement. The “Pro” designation was not only clearly earned by the larger form factor, but also supported by a number of other significant improvements, such as support for Apple’s first-ever stylus (the Apple Pencil), a new Smart Connector that provided plug-in compatibility for the Apple Smart Keyboard and other third-party keyboard cases and accessories, and significant video and audio improvements. It was clear that the 12.9” iPad was a tablet to be contended with, and while originally there was the feeling that the “Pro” capabilities would remain the exclusive domain of Apple’s largest iPad, the company subsequently unveiled a 9.7” iPad Pro model six months later, including most of the core capabilities of its larger sibling, while also adding a new True Tone display and significantly better cameras, but lacking USB 3.0 support and faster USB-C charging.

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‘Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow’ game lands on iOS June 29

‘Futurama’ fans who have been waiting for new stories set in that universe since the show went off the air will get their wish on June 29, when Jam City and FoxNext Games release ‘Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow’ for iOS. The free-to-play game combines “simulation, combat, galactic exploration, and choose-your-own-adventure gameplay” to tell a new set of stories featuring the Planet Express crew, and the stories were created in collaboration with the show’s original writers and executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. In keeping with the show’s quirky cameos, geek icons Stephen Hawking, George Takei, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are all featured in the promo trailer and are actually playable charaters in the game, each with their own unique storyline. Registering for updates on the game’s launch will net users a free in-game gift.

Apple urging developers to prepare for iOS 11 App Store changes after public beta release

After the release of the first public beta for iOS 11, Apple has sent communications to developers urging them to take advantage of changes to the App Store. With beta users already able to access the upgraded store ahead of the official fall release, Apple’s message is pushing developers to fill out new sections on their product pages, including “subtitles, promotional text, additional app previews that you can localize, and up to 20 promoted in-app purchases.” While users on the App Store for iOS 10.3 and later will still see the same page, those users will see fewer details — like being limited to only one preview — so Apple’s tips steer developers to creating a more robust experience for iOS 11 while still keeping an eye to the majority of users who haven’t migrated yet.

Daily Deal: Power Dot Pro Rapid Car Charger

In our iLounge Deal for today, we’re offering the Power Dot Pro Rapid Car Charger for only $14.99 — that’s 40% off the regular price. This super-compact car charger provides 24W of power, sharing 4.8A of total output between two devices, so that you can get an extremely fast charge, even for your iPad Pro.

Get the Power Dot Pro Rapid Car Charger now for only $14.99

Urban Armor Gear rolls out Metropolis Series cases for 10.5” and 12.9” iPad Pro models

Urban Armor Gear has revealed its new Metropolis Series cases for 10.5” and 12.9” iPad Pro models, featuring a smart cover that both protects the screen and functions as a multi-position stand. The case has a spot to keep the Apple Pencil secure when it’s not in use, and corner bumpers provide extra drop protection for the iPad’s display. The case can be removed from the adjustable stand — making the case compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard — and features oversized ports and cutouts to make sure that all the buttons are easily accessible and the device is still able to use various third-party cables and accessories. The 10.5” case costs $60, and the 12.9” costs $90, with both models available in red, black and blue.

Report: Apple acquires computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments

A paper trail of purchases through shell companies seems to indicate that Apple has secretly acquired German computer vision company SensoMotoric Instruments, MacRumors reports. On May 2, Apple’s vice president of corporate law Gene Levoff signed off on allowing a German law firm to buy SensoMotoric on behalf of Vineyard Capital Corporation — suspected to be a shell company. On June 16, SensoMotoric filed new articles of incorporation and subsequently removed more than a dozen pages that once featured information about its products, also deleting the site’s job listings and contact information, among other things.

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Apple partners with Hertz to test self-driving car technology

Apple has leased a “small fleet” of cars from Hertz to test its self-driving car technology, Bloomberg reports. In the latest round of filings with the California DMV, Apple is shown to be leasing more of the Lexus RX450h models that it was originally reported to be using to test its systems, all coming from Hertz’s Donlen fleet-management unit. The deal mirrors a much larger agreement between Alphabet and Avis for a similar arrangement, and Hertz’s stock jumped 18 percent on the news of its relationship with Apple. Neither Hertz nor Apple commented on the report, but a person familiar with Apple’s project said the company has been testing a half-dozen self-driving vehicles on public roads near San Francisco for more than a year.

Apple releases first iOS 11, tvOS 11 public betas, updates to developer betas

For those willing to accept the risks associated with installing a beta OS on your device, Apple has rolled out its first public iOS 11 and tvOS 11 betas. The iOS 11 update provides a greatly expanded and customizable Control Center, the ability to record what’s happening on your screen, a Maps app that includes indoor maps for airports and malls, and new HomeKit functionality, among other improvements. On iPad, iOS 11 provides a new dock and better support for the Apple Pencil. The tvOS 11 upgrade comes with some new bells and whistles as well, including an automatic setting for toggling between Light and Dark Mode, and the ability to store your Home screen layout in iCloud — along with your installed apps — so that this information can be synced across multiple Apple TVs or restored should you ever have to reset or replace your Apple TV. For anyone not already enrolled in the public beta program, you can get started on Apple’s website.

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Daily Deal: Boom 3D for Mac

In our iLounge Deal for today, you can get Boom 3D for Mac for only $9.99 — that’s 41% off the regular price. This system-wide volume booster and equalizer will bring out the best from your Mac’s speakers, enhancing the range of your audio, providing 3D surround sound, and giving you more nuanced control over your volume settings than ever before. While Boom 3D can be used with any audio output from your Mac, an integrated audio player is also included to provide even more advanced controls, including a ten-band advanced equalizer along with presets and a range of special effects.

Get the Boom 3D for Mac now for only $9.99

Review: Focal Spark In-Ear Headphones

Focal is a bit of an institution in the audiophile community. Pronounced "fo-cal", this company has long been known for its high-end speakers for home and car audio. Last year, Focal made a splash with two ultra high-end headphones, the $1000 Elear and $4000 Utopia, which some have called the best in the world. Focal now seeks to expand its reach with the Spark, an entry-level IEM. We found them to be consistent with Focal's heritage and, at $69, worthy of a recommendation despite one significant flaw.

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