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Tip of the Day: Going back to a four-digit passcode in iOS 9

One of the smaller security features touted by Apple in the iOS 9 update was the move to requiring six-digit passcodes, rather than the default four-digit option that’s been around since the iPhone first debuted. While complex alphanumeric passwords have been available in iOS for years, most users found them to be too much trouble, so Apple reasoned that going from a four to a six-digit passcode was a more sensible compromise for improving security, particularly in an era of Touch ID devices, where the passcode rarely needs to be entered anyway.

Review: Scosche boomBOTTLE+ Waterproof Wireless Speaker

Scosche has introduced another new version of its rugged boomBOTTLE speaker, boomBOTTLE+ ($180). This is the third straight year of a boomBOTTLE release from the company, following 2013's original boomBottle and last year's smaller boomBOTTLE H20. As one might imagine, the new "+" in the speaker's name denotes Scosche's move in the opposite direction — this is the tallest boomBOTTLE yet. The new boomBOTTLE+ comes with dual 50mm drivers and a passive subwoofer. The Bluetooth speaker comes with a micro-USB cable, small strap, carabiner clip, and a 2.4A wall charger. boomBOTTLE+ comes in three different colors.

Report: Apple holding $181.1 billion in offshore tax havens

Apple is holding $181.1 billion in offshore tax havens, more than any other U.S. company, Reuters reports. A study by The Center for Tax Justice and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund examined the Security and Exchange Commission filings of the 500 largest American companies, concluding nearly three-quarters of them are collectively holding more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid an estimated $620 billion in U.S. taxes; Apple itself would owe an estimated $59.2 billion in U.S. taxes if the company wanted to bring its overseas money back into the United States. The study concluded that “Congress can and should take strong action to prevent corporations from using offshore tax havens, which in turn would restore basic fairness to the tax system, reduce the deficit and improve the functioning of markets.” Apple has generally stated in the past that the company pays all the taxes it owes.

Apple releases fourth iOS 9.1 beta, third tvOS beta to developers

Less than a week after the last iOS 9.1 beta release, Apple has now released a fourth beta of iOS 9.1 to developers. iOS 9.1 appears to be primarily focused on adding developer-level support for features such as 3D Touch and Live Photos on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, with this latest beta focusing on fixing a number of issues from prior betas. Registered iOS developers can download the iOS 9.1 beta from Apple’s Developer site; a public version of the beta will likely be following soon.

In addition, Apple has also released a third beta of tvOS for the new Apple TV, intended to allow developers to get a head start on Apple TV App Development prior to the public release of the new set-top box. The tvOS beta is intended only for those developers who have already received a development kit for the new Apple TV, as it only runs on the not-yet-released model.

Apple taking reservations for new iPhones in six European countries

Apple is accepting iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus reservations in six of the 40 countries where the new phones are set to debut this Friday. Customers in Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands can pick the model, color and storage size they want and reserve a phone for in-store pickup Friday, although iPhone 6s Plus models are still in limited supply at most locations. Reservations are limited to two per customer and valid government-issued ID may be required for pickup.

Apple adds transit directions for Boston, Sydney

Apple has quietly added Boston and Sydney, Australia to its list of cities where transit directions are supported in Apple Maps. The expansion solves a problem for some Australian users who were left without access to transit directions after Apple shut down the popular HopStop transit directions app earlier this month. HopStop covered cities in Russia, Israel and Australia that Apple Maps has yet to expand into with transit directions. Note: Though support has officially been added, not all users are seeing the feature as of yet. We searched both cities and no transit directions appeared to be available at the time of this writing.

Apple acquires artificial intelligence firm Perceptio

Apple has acquired Perceptio, a startup that develops tech which allows companies to run artificial intelligence on smartphones with less sharing of user data, Bloomberg reports. Since previous reports on Apple’s growing AI development push have cited the company’s demand that predictive recommendations be generated by a user’s device — not based on pooling and analyzing data like similar offerings from Google, Amazon and Facebook — the acquisition fits into Apple’s hopes to do as much processing as possible on local devices. Outside of its routine confirmation of the acquisition, Apple declined to comment on its plans for Perceptio.

Apple rolls out app thinning in iOS 9.0.2

Apple has fixed the iOS 9 issue that held up the release of its new app thinning feature. Users running iOS 9.0.2 or later will now receive device-specific versions of downloaded apps, provided the app’s developer has made such a download available. By tailoring app downloads to individual devices, developers can provide users with a variant containing only the features and capabilities that function on each device, minimizing the amount of space an app requires. How many developers have created device-specific variants of their apps so far is still unclear.

Daily Deal: The Big Mac Bundle

Today in iLounge Deals you can grab The Big Mac Bundle, featuring fourteen top-rated productivity and organization apps, all for only $17.99 – that’s a whopping 97% savings compared to purchasing each of these apps separately. Covering everything from streamlining your folder organization to categorizing your images and optimizing your Mac’s performance, the bundle includes such apps as RapidWeaver, Ember, Kinemac, Candy Apple, Voila, MacBooster 3, and more.

Get The Big Mac Bundle now for only $17.99

Review: Just Mobile Quattro Folio for iPhone 6s

Just Mobile's Quattro Folio ($45) is a leather folio case for iPhone 6s — while Just Mobile notes that the case will fit both iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s, it's being marketed as a 6s case on the company's website. Like many folio cases, Quattro Folio doesn't offer button coverage. Unfortunately, Quattro doesn't offer much coverage, period, leaving all corners of the phone and nearly the entire left side exposed when the iPhone 6s' screen is in use. The folio cover slot is designed for business cards, but we found it will accommodate two credit cards. The case also doubles as a landscape viewing stand.

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