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About Alex Heath

Alex Heath Alex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for over two years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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You Can Now Make Voice Calls For Free With Facebook Messenger In Any Country

Screen Shot 2014-04-03 at 3.55.35 PM

Today Facebook Messenger was updated with the ability to make free voice calls over WiFi both domestically and internationally. Making calls over a cellular connection uses data. The features works similar to FaceTime Audio, which is natively baked into all iOS devices and Macs.

Facebook Messenger technically added VOIP (voice over IP) calling in January 2013, but the feature has been limited to the US, UK, and Canada until now. Facebook users with the Messenger iOS app installed can be called with a new phone icon at the top right of a conversation thread. The calling interface looks almost identical to Apple’s stock Phone app in iOS 7.1.

Messenger was recently updated with group messaging and forwarding. After WhatsApp was bought by Facebook earlier this year, it was revealed that VOIP calling is coming to that app as well in the coming months.

Auxo 2 Takes Multitasking In iOS 7 To The Next Level For Jailbreakers

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The jailbreak tweak called Auxo did card-based app switching in iOS 6, and then Apple came along and fully implemented the idea in iOS 7. Auxo, which started as a concept that went viral online, was suddenly obsolete.

A successor to Auxo has been in the works for quite some time, and now it’s available for jailbreakers to install in Cydia. Auxo 2 doesn’t reinvent iOS 7 multitasking, but the tweak builds upon it by adding more controls and customization.

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Fantastical Is Now Available For iPad, And It’s Better Than Apple’s Calendar

(Photo: Alex Heath, Cult of Mac)

(Photo: Alex Heath, Cult of Mac)

I may not be able to say that Fantastical is the best calendar app for everyone, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s the best option for most people. What started on the Mac and made its way to the iPhone is now on the iPad. Fantastical 2 for iPad is here, and it’s great.

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iWork for iCloud Gets Facelift, Thank Goodness

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iWork’s web apps have lagged behind Apple’s iOS and Mac apps in terms of design and functionality, but no more! Apple has redesigned the iWork for iCloud suite to make it look more like its iOS 7 counterpart.

Available to use now on iCloud.com, today’s updates to Pages, Numbers, and Keynote brings a unified look and feel to the iWork suite across all platforms.

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Would You Buy An iPhone With A Larger Screen? [Poll]

Get Your Don Draper On With Apple’s Updated iAds

iAd Workbench

Apple has rolled out what is perhaps the most important update ever to its mobile advertising platform, giving anybody with an Apple ID the ability to create iAds for free.

Using the updated iAd Workbench tool, anyone can make their own iAd campaign in a simple, Apple-style interface. It just got a whole lot easier to make iAds for iOS devices.

And that’s not all Apple has added.

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Apple Primed to Devour Key Japanese Chipmaker

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Apple is considering a buyout of a division of Renesas Electronics that specializes in display chips for smartphones. The buyout would give Apple engineering expertise to help improve the iPhone’s display “sharpness and battery life,” according to Japanese business site Nikkei.

Apple already orders all of its liquid crystal display chips from Renesas, and the Japanese company is responsible for powering about a third of the world’s small to midsize LCDs. Instead of using the chip division of Renesas like an outside contractor, Apple wants to bring it in-house.

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Blue-Collar Jurors Will Decide Latest Round of Apple-Samsung Patent Fight

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Round two of what might be the biggest patent trial in tech history will be decided by a plumber, a police officer and a store clerk. Those blue-collar types are among the 10-person jury finalized Monday for the latest legal battle between Apple and Samsung.

Jury picked,” tweeted San Jose Mercury News reporter Howard Mintz shortly after jury selection concluded. “Plumber, teacher, cop, secretary, store clerk, county worker, etc. Not [a] sniff of a tech geek to decide $billion patent trial.”

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Apple Announces LTE iPad Availability In China

China Mobile, the largest carrier in the world, officially partnered with Apple last year.

China Mobile, the largest carrier in the world, officially partnered with Apple last year.

Apple has announced that the LTE iPad Air and iPad mini are now available in China. Cellular iPad models have been on sale in the country already, but today marks Apple’s adoption of the local TD-SCDMA network standard.

Here’s the full press release:

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Apple Will Announce Q2 Earnings On Wednesday, April 23

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Apple will hold its second quarterly earnings call for 2014 on Wednesday, April 23rd. The call will be streamed online at 2:00 p.m. PST.

Tim Cook promised that we would see new stuff from Apple in ”both current product categories and new ones” across 2014. There has yet to be a media event or new hardware.

Apple has set revenue expectations at $42-44 billion for Q2. Last quarter’s holiday numbers were an all-time high for the company.