Turn your game audio up to 11 with these Bluetooth cans

These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

These Astro 38s are easy to pair, last for hours, sound amazing. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I typically try out a new product for review without reading any of the documentation or media relations stuff that the folks who send us such things want us to look at. I want to have as pristine an experience as possible. Sometimes that leads to little surprises.

I put these new Astro Gaming A38 Bluetooth headphones on my head last week, and paired them with my iPhone to play a little music. After a few songs of various genres, I stopped the tunes and took these off my noggin. I suddenly realized that my girlfriend had been blending up a protein shake in the nearby kitchen. It was surprising because I honestly could not hear it with the headphones on my head and playing music at a relatively low volume – and our blender is really loud.

While they’re great for music, these are also fantastic sounding headphones that help you immerse yourself into any game on your iPad or iPhone, cutting down on the auditory distractions from the outside world when they’re powered up.

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Apple explains how to keep yourself safe from phishing hacks on the web

The trusty green lock you should be paying attention to while surfing.

The trusty green lock you should be paying attention to while surfing. Screenshot: Alex Heath/ Cult of Mac

Recent reports of iCloud phishing attempts in China illustrate just how important it is always verify that you’re logging into legitimate websites before you enter your precious passwords.

To help, Apple today outlined how users can protect themselves from phishing attacks, in which bad guys pose as legitimate entities in an attempt to gain sensitive data on the web. Apple’s simple PSA page shows how web surfers can verify the authenticity of any website.

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Apple Pay’s innovative loyalty program could supercharge holiday shopping

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Apple Pay’s loyalty program could arrive in time to reward your holiday shopping spree. Photo: Apple

Apple Pay is set to completely change the way we pay for things at the register, and to reward early adopters’ use of the new mobile payments system, Apple is planning to launch a new Apple Pay loyalty program in time for the holidays.

The rumored Apple Pay loyalty program supposedly wasn’t slated to launch until 2015  (to go with the launch of Apple Pay 2.0), but after market demand was stronger than expected, Bank Innovation reports the program could be here in time to help you with your Christmas Shopping.

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BBC’s fact-tastic data-dicing tool puts your tiny life in perspective

So many changes. Screengrab: BBC

So many changes. Screengrab: BBC

Wondering how many solar eclipses there have been since the day you were born? How about when your next birthday on Mercury is? Perhaps you want to know how much Earth’s population has changed since your very special day.

You can answer these questions and more at BBC Earth with this interactive tool — you just plug in your birthdate, height, and gender, and you’ll get all sorts of interesting facts about our planet, as it relates to your lifespan.

“Find out how,” says the BBC site, “since the date of your birth, your life has progressed; including how many times your heart has beaten, and how far you have travelled through space.”

Heady stuff, indeed.

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iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 pre-orders start delivering tomorrow

The iPad mini 3. Photo: Apple

The iPad mini 3 will be in hands this week. Photo: Apple

Apple mysteriously didn’t mention an exact launch date for the iPad Air 2 or the iPad mini 3, but if you pre-ordered your new tablet last week, it could be on your doorstep as soon as tomorrow.

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Dark Sky is the best weather app for iOS 8

widget-precip

This morning I woke up and slide my finger down my iPhone’s lockscreen to see the weather. With a single line of text, Dark Sky told me what it felt like outside and that it would be overcast for at least the next hour. No need for sunglasses then.

There are a lot of weather apps out there to choose from, and I’ve tried a lot of them. But in terms of features, design, and actual usefulness, none comes close to being as good as Dark Sky.

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Zero down gets you an iPad at T-Mobile

Photo: Apple

Apple’s best tablet(s) yet? Photo: Apple

If you’re looking to get your hands on a brand new iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 ASAP for no money down, you may want to check out T-Mobile’s offers.

Announcing the opening up of its preorders ahead of the new tablets hitting shelves, the cellular service provider is giving would-be tablet owners the chance to pick up a 16GB iPad Air 2 or iPad mini for an upfront cost of zero dollars — so long as they’re willing to sign up for 24 monthly instalment payments.

The price plans break down as below:

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Camp Pokemon puts monsters in your pocket

Gotta catch 'em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International

Gotta catch ‘em all. Photo: The Pokémon Company International

The Pokémon Company International just took another step towards iOS domination with its free-to-play game, Camp Pokémon, now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. This new game will let children of all ages explore Camp Pokémon, learning to become a Pokémon trainer.

This is a big step in the right direction for Pokémon video game players, since Nintendo has as yet refused to put it’s incredibly lucrative Pokémon RPG games on any platform besides its own. However, The Pokemon Company owns the rights to the card game; they can put it on any platform they choose.

“Kids will have a blast exploring Camp Pokémon as they immerse themselves in the Pokémon universe in a fun, interactive setting,” said The Pokémon Company’s J.C. Smith. “Parents will love watching their little campers participate in fun activities and create memories at the virtual Pokémon island.”

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How to find stores near you that support Apple Pay

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple Pay launched yesterday with dozens of official partners supporting Apple’s mobile payments solution out of the gate, but even though participating stores are listed on Apple’s website, there are tons of other contactless payment vendors in your city that can use Apply Pay, and you don’t even know it.

Many of the 200,000 contactless NFC payment terminals across the U.S. can accept Apple Pay, whether it’s a Coca-Cola vending machine, or your local car shop. Finding those business using contactless payments is the biggest challenge, but thanks to a couple of websites and apps, you can locate your next Apple Pay destination in seconds.

Here’s how to find Apple Pay merchants near you:

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Get exclusive gamer swag with a 3 month discounted subscription to Loot Crate [Deals]

CoM_lootcrate2
Do you love yourself some video games? Like brain teasing science fiction tales? Do you fearlessly wear your Starfleet uniform to the grocery store like it was Comic Con?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Loot Crate was designed for you. Right now, you can get 3 months of Loot Crate at the discounted price of just $47.99 for a limited time at Cult of Mac Deals.

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