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Refreshed Retina MacBook Pros get a speed and memory boost

MacBook Pro 2

As expected, Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro line received its first refresh since October — adding speedier Haswell chips to its 13-inch and 15-inch models. The 13-inch notebooks now boast 8GB of RAM as standard, while the 15-inch models feature 16GB of RAM.

The minor refresh, which comes right in the middle of Apple’s back to school season, is to tide customers over until the arrival of the more significant Retina MacBook line refresh, which is expected in 2015 when Intel’s next gen 14-nanometer Broadwell processors are ready.

The new model Retina MacBook Pro specs can be seen after the jump:

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Why Apple is poised to own the Internet of Things

Craig

Craig Federighi takes the wraps off Apple’s HomeKit at WWDC 2014. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Imagine getting home after a hard day’s work in the year 2016: There’s no need for keys as you approach your house, since proximity sensors in the lock mean a simple iPhone voice authorization will open the door for you.

The house has been alerted to your arrival, so your Nest thermostat has adjusted the temperature to suit you, while your Philips Hue connected light bulbs change the lighting to fit your mood — predicted by analyzing your heart rate and schedule for that day. The iWatch on your wrist runs Jawbone app, letting you know your caffeine levels are a little high and that you should wait until 7:30 p.m. before going for a jog to ensure maximum sleep quality that night.

Five minutes after putting your car keys down, dinner’s ready. You’re running late, but your smart immersion cooker — which has been monitoring your location all day — has delayed cooking until the optimal start time.

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Forget the iWatch, Swatch planning its own smartwatch for 2015

Why help with the iWatch when you can refresh Swatch's Swatch Touch product line?

Why help with the iWatch when you can refresh Swatch’s Swatch Touch product line?

Last week there were rumors that Swatch might be partnering with Apple to work on its iWatch project. Swatch quickly denied the report, saying that the only business relationship Swatch has ever had with a mobile phone maker is to supply integrated circuits and other electronic components.

Now a new piece of the puzzle has emerged, with Swatch CEO Nick Hayek providing Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag with another reason why his company isn’t going to be helping Apple: because it’s making a smartwatch of its own.

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Europe says yes to Apple’s $3 billion acquisition of Beats

Beats-Dr-Dre

The European Commission today gave its approval to Apple’s $3 billion takeover of Beats Electronics and Beats Music. The regulator concluded that the two companies are not close competitors, and that the headphones they sell are “markedly different in function and design.”

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iSpy: How a photojournalist became Steve Jobs’ hand-picked photographer

Family and a few close friends aside, very few people got the inside track on Steve Jobs.

One of the few exceptions was Doug Menuez, an award-winning documentary photographer. For almost a decade between 1985 and 1994, Menuez shot an unprecedented number of photos of Jobs during his wilderness years outside Apple. And, as can be seen in the gallery above, he also took some astonishing inside shots of Apple during this same time frame.

In the process, Menuez became one of the foremost documentarians of an incredible period in Silicon Valley history. To celebrate the launch of his new book, Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley 1985-2000, Menuez spoke with Cult of Mac about his background with one of the greatest tech entrepreneurs to ever live.

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The darkest hour is just before the dawn in True Blood’s ‘Karma’

Violet is angry, like usual. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO

Violet is angry, like usual. Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO

It’s time for the various residents of Bon Temps to face the music. Karma’s a bitch, and in the latest episode of the final season of this hit vampire romance TV show from HBO, we’re gonna watch most of the main characters deal with the consequences of their past behavior and poor choices. Andy, Holly, Bill, Sam, Sookie: Each of these True Blood staples have to stand up and own their life choices.

This is a pretty expository episode, so we spend a lot of time watching characters explain their situations in sometimes excruciating detail. Let’s hope that our karma for watching the show will be some more action-packed and hilarious scenes in the upcoming shows left in the season, rather than a payback for following the show for so long. We still have faith, though.

Spoilers abound below, so be warned. Find out what happened on last night’s episode after the jump.

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Apple’s BookLamp acquisition aims to beat Amazon at its own game

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Is Apple vs. Amazon the next “thermonuclear” tech war?

Perhaps not quite yet, but with Amazon moving into smartphones, and Apple choosing to stock the books Amazon refuses to, competition is certainly heating up. That may go some way toward explaining Apple’s acquisition of BookLamp, a startup described as the “Pandora for books,” which offers personalized book recommendations.

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The best new books, music and movies to amp up your weekend

Numbers don’t lie: New insight into Apple’s killer pipeline

apple-earnings-money

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about Apple right now, but if you believe Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, we’re just getting started.

Based on Apple’s quarterly SEC filing, Huberty believes Apple’s revenue is set to explode over the coming quarters, since she claims Cupertino’s off-balance sheet commitments “confirm major product ramps later this year.”

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Crystal Baller: Glowing Apple logos, 4K iMacs and 6 other juicy Apple rumors