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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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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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Linkedin profile confirms sapphire glass screens coming to Apple mobile devices

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Although we know that Apple has spent a lot of money to team up with GT Advanced to created a sapphire glass manufacturing facility, we haven’t up until now had any direct confirmation on whether or not it that glass would be used for the screen of the iPhone 6. All we’ve heard are rumors, which right now say that sapphire glass will be limited to the most premium models of Apple’s latest smartphone.

But thanks to a rather loose-lipped former GT Advanced employee, we might have our first real confirmation that Apple and GT Advanced have been working to ship the iPhone 6 with a sapphire glass display.

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Logitech’s new keyboard with built-in iPad stand lets you dial between devices

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Many of us use a Bluetooth keyboard with our Mac or our iPad, but using the same keyboard with multiple devices can be a real pain in the neck, since Bluetooth doesn’t elegantly let you pair one accessory with multiple devices.

For a little while now, Logitech has been trying to massage away that pain with a series of keyboards that can switch between being paired with a Mac and iOS device, but Logitech’s new Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 makes it easier than ever. And it has a built-in stand for your iPad or iPhone to boot.

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The bKey is an external iPhone battery small enough to fit on your keychain

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These days, most of us have no shortage of extra batteries that can juice up our iPhones and iPads in a pinch. The problem is that none of them are there when you actually need them: you’ve forgotten them at home, or they’re in that other bag.

The bKey is a new Kickstarter project that aims to make that problem a thing of the past by shrinking down an external battery to the size of a key. And if you’ve got a battery on your keychain, you’ll never be without a charge.

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Rdio for iOS, Mac and Web goes freemium

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Forget Spotify, Pandora and Beats Music. I’ve tried them all, and for my money, Rdio is the best streaming music subscription service out there. It has the best app design and, for my tastes, the best music selection. But you have to pay.

An update, though, is trying to make Rdio much more palatable to free users, as well as help all users find new music faster. It’s making the service free to everyone, emphasizing ad-supported stations for free users (with up to 15 times as many tracks as competing services), and new, smart social services for paid users.

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Ikea channels Jony Ive’s showmanship to promote its 2015 catalog

Four years ago, Apple debuted the iPad with the first of what would soon become a widely parodied style of video, in which Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jony Ive said of Apple’s first tablet: “It’s true that when something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical, and that’s exactly what the iPad is. It’s hard to see how something so simple, so thin, and so light, could possibly be so capable.”

As Apple knew it would, the video made a huge impact on people… so big an impact that it soon became a well-worn format for parody. Now, even Swedish furniture retailer Ikea is getting in on the game with their latest ad, which uses all the same beats and breathless rapture of Jony Ive talking about the iPad, but to promote the 2015 Ikea catalog instead. Well done.

See Apple’s original iPad introduction video below.

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Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is coming soon to iPad, iPhone and Mac

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Even 14 years later, Icewind Dale is still a beautiful game.

Beamdog Entertainment is a team of ex-Bioware and Black Isle developers who specialize on taking classic Infinity Engine RPGs and updating them for modern devices, like the Mac or iPad. First, they did it for Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II and now they are doing it with Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, coming soon to a Mac or iPad near you.

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Pictured together at last, the iWatch and iPhone 6

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Martin Hajek’s incredible renders come in two equally impressive categories. The first are the realistic recreations of upcoming devices that that the artist put togethers based on leaked parts and schematics: for example, his incredible iPhone 6 render.

But Martin Hajek does another kind of concept as well: his purely conceptual imaginings of what still unrevealed Apple gadgets like the iWatch or the Apple HDTV.

This might be a first though. In his latest series of rendering, Hajek has paired both kinds of renders together: the iPhone 6, a design we know, with the iWatch, a design that is, to all of us, still a mystery. And if the real iWatch + iPhone 6 combo looks half as good in real life as Hajek’s, we’re in for an exciting year. More images after the jump.

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