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About John Brownlee

John Brownlee John Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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The Apple Watch’s design is even more beautiful round

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Perhaps the most surprising thing about Apple’s reveal on Tuesday of their first smartwatch was that it was square.

Many of us were expecting something that was at least curved, if not round: a more traditional watch form factor that represented an evolutionary step away from the square displays Apple has embraced since the original Apple I.

Of course, as we all know, the Apple Watch is boxy, at least for now. But as these renders show, the Apple Watch design and UI would work just as well, if not more so, in a round casing, with a round display.

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Don’t worry, lefties! The Apple Watch has a left-handed mode

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Apple’s actually made watches before, but one thing that makes the Apple Watch unique from other Cupertino products is it’s the first design I can think of that is asymmetrical. Look at the buttons, and you can see the Apple Watch has a clear handedness: it’s meant to be worn on the left wrist, and operated with the right hand.

Bad for lefties… or is it? Come on: this is Apple we’re talking about. As it turns out, the Apple Watch can be easily set up to wear on the other wrist, as long as you don’t mind the digital crown being on the bottom.

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Apple drops iCloud storage prices to start at just $0.99 per month for 20GB

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Even when it was first unveiled, iCloud storage was expensive, and as companies like Dropbox and Google Drive have dropped the prices of their offering.

But an update to Apple’s iCloud webpage suggests that’s about to change. The company is radically dropping the price of iCloud Storage, starting at just $0.99 a month for 20GB of storage.

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Verizon’s Auto Share will let you rent (or rent out) any car with your iPhone

Available in many major cities, Zipcar is this wonderful service that allows you to rent a car by the hour with your smartphone. In my neighborhood, there are half-a-dozen Zipcars parked, just waiting to be scooped up for a quick Ikea run or jaunt to the grocery store. It makes owning a car largely superfluous, at least if you live in a city with good public transportation.

But even though I live in an area with a lot of Zipcars, it’s still hard to find one that is unused on a busy Saturday or Sunday afternoon. But now Verizon has a plan on how to compete with Zipcar, and it’s a doozy: they’re going to allow anyone turn their own car into a Zipcar, rentable by iPhone or other smartphones.

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Apple is thinking about making this crazy virtual reality headset

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Today, in what is being described as a “historic” event, Apple will take the stage in Cupertino and unveil at least three new products: the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, the 5.5-inch iPhone 6+, and (quite possibly) the iWatch, Apple’s revolutionary wearable.

But imagine if Apple had even more in store for us. Like what? Oh, say, this Apple patent for an Occulus Rift style virtual reality headset!

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Should Tim Cook apologize for the Fappening at today’s iPhone 6 event?

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Apple is widely rumored to unveil a new NFC-based mobile payments service tied into the iPhone and iWatch later today.

But there’s a problem. In the aftermath of the Fappening, the massive iCloud breach that leaked nude and pornographic images of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and more, it’s bad timing. Apple’s name is synonymous in the news with security breaches right now. People may not want to trust the company with their financial data if Apple can’t even protect the nudes of celebrities.

So maybe Apple shouldn’t push payments during today’s big event. Or at least not at first. Maybe Tim Cook should apologize instead.

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Could we have the first Retina iMac by Christmas?

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Two years ago, in my article Why Retina Isn’t Enough, we argued that Apple wouldn’t call an iMac Retina-worthy until it boasted a display capable of at least a 5120 x 2880 resolution.

How time flies. Now, Dell has just announced the first 5120 x 2880 ’5K’ monitor. And that means similar panels could be coming soon to a 27-inch Retina iMac near you.

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Spotify is getting ready to inject video ads into its iOS app

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If you’re a free Spotify user, prepare for your experience to get a lot more annoying: video ads are coming to the a la carte music streaming service.

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The iOS @@ shortcut is so useful, you’ll never use your iPhone the same way again

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Text shortcuts are one of the most useful settings in iOS. Having the potential to just hit a couple of keys to input an entire string of text is a wonderful time saver… as long as you have the foresight to set them up first.

Alas, most of us never delve into text shortcuts on iOS 8. But here’s a shortcut anyone can take advantage of: a text shortcut that allows you to cycle rapidly through your email addresses with just a single keypress.

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The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will have a 2,915mAh battery, but don’t expect better battery life

The 5.5-inch iPhone 6 may have a bigger battery, but don’t expect bigger battery life.

In just a little over 24 hours, Tim Cook and Co. will take the stage of Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California and unveil at least one 4.7-inch iPhone 6. From previous leaks, we know that this iPhone 6 will have a 1,810mAh capacity battery, a 14% beefier battery than the 1,560mAh battery used in the iPhone 5s. It makes sense it would need one: it will have a sizably bigger display to light up.

But what about the 5.5-inch iPhone 6? Won’t it need a bigger battery even than that? It will, and a new leak out of Apple’s supply chain suggests that it will be a massive 2,915mAh battery, a battery 86% larger than the current iPhone 5s battery.

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