3 touchy tech topics to avoid at holiday dinners

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Place Setting Pixabay
Which fork does one use for seppuku, again? Someone get Miss Manners on this.
Photo: Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

The ever-expanding holiday season is upon us once again, and Cult of Mac wants to help make your obligatory family dinners the least awkward they can be.

We know that a certain amount of discomfort is unavoidable. Kids might have tantrums, Grinches might get a bit too much “holiday spirit,” or some cousin with a beef might have been waiting for everyone to be in the same room before they announce how they really feel about Grandma.

Family drama aside, we have a few tips for conversation tech topics to avoid during dinner to keep everyone as happy and un-yelled-at as possible. It was a big year for tech, but some topics are best left in Internet forums and the comments of your favorite Apple blog.

Teardown reveals Apple Smart Keyboard is not repairable — but super durable

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Apple's new keyboard is made out of high-tech fabric.
Apple's new keyboard is made out of high-tech fabric.
Photo: iFixit

We’re just days away from carving up turkeys in the US, but the folks at iFixit are busting out the blades a little early for their official teardown of the new Apple Smart Keyboard for the iPad Pro.

The new teardown from iFixit reveals how Apple made the Keyboard/Smart Cover super durable by encapsulating the entire product in some high tech fabric that should make it last much longer than a normal keyboard, which is good because it is also impossible to repair.

Check out the keyboards guts below:

You can now order an iPad Pro

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ipad-pro
Apple Pencils up: The iPad Pro is now available for sale.

Get ready to empty that rainy-day fund and smash every piggy bank you can find: iPad Pros are now for sale.

After a brief production delay, Apple’s latest hardware is live online (in the United States, anyway), and the company says it will hit stores later this week. Those wanting to get in on the latest and greatest — i.e. biggest — iOS device just need to head over to Apple’s site and start clicking.

Prepare yourself — iPad Pro goes on sale tonight

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The iPad Pro goes on sale November 11th.
The iPad Pro is casting its impressive shadow on a
Photo: Apple

The wait is almost over for the biggest tablet Apple has ever made: Pre-orders for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro go live sometime tonight.

We don’t expect iPhone-level day-one sales for the massive new hardware, but if you’ve been champing at the bit to pick up the new shiny thing, here’s how you can get it.

iPad Pro available to order Wednesday, in stores later this week

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Get ready to meet the iPad Pro's smaller sibling.
Coming soon to a store near you.
Photo: Apple

Apple has confirmed that its super-sized iPad Pro tablet will be available to order online Wednesday, with stocks available in retail stores from the end of this week.

More than 40 countries will be covered by the launch, including the United States, Canada, China and much of Europe. Apple will start selling accessories for the iPad Pro at the same time, with the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard available for $99 and $169 respectively.

You’ll want this pretty leather sleeve for your iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

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The Pad & Pencil sleeve is for your iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
Photo: Shawn Saunders

Well that didn’t take very long. A little over a week after Apple announces the iPad Pro with Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard accessories, a leather sleeve has emerged on Kickstarter to nicely pair your new 12.9-inch tablet with the stylus.

The new Pad & Pencil is a snazzy case for your iPad Pro made with high-grade, oil-tanned leather. It slips on and covers your entire iPad Pro, plus has an extending pocket on the side for safely storing your Apple Pencil.

Full Apple upgrade won’t come cheap

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The iPad Pro goes on sale November 11th.
The iPad Pro goes on sale November 11th.
Photo: Apple

Apple rolled out one drool-worthy new gadget after another Wednesday.

The iPad Pro? Want.

A Hermes Apple Watch? Gotta have.

The new Apple TV? Gimme!

If you’re like me, you’ll want one of everything Tim Cook and crew showed off in Apple’s September showcase. But if you get one of everything, it is going to cost you.

Short and sweet: All the new magical stuff from Apple’s big event

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Tim cook
Apple and Tim Cook have plenty to cheer about.
Photo: Apple

From the iPhone to the iPad to the Apple TV, Cupertino’s constellation of magical devices just got a little more magical.

Did you expect all that Apple goodness? Most of what we heard today already churned through the rumor mill: the plus-size iPad Pro; new Apple Watch finishes and bands; a refreshed Apple TV with games, apps and Siri functionality. And, oh yeah, the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus with a whole new level of Force Touch, called 3D Touch.

There were even a few surprises, like the iPad Pro’s new Smart Keyboard and the iPad stylus, dubbed the Apple Pencil. But throughout today’s keynote by Tim Cook and his lieutenants, the series of under-the-hood upgrades they revealed promise to push all Apple products forward into the future.

Let’s take a moment to boil down all two hours and 10 minutes of this incredibly dense and surprisingly succinct Apple event.

Sweeten Your Tunes With Smart Keys And Smart Guitar In GarageBand For iPad [iOS Tips]

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Smart Keyboard

Once you’ve laid down a solid rhythmic foundation with your drums and your bass, it’s time to sweeten things up with some different sounds, like guitar or keyboards. GarageBand for iPad makes this sincerely easy, with Smart Keys and Smart Guitar, letting you widen the range of harmonic counterpoint in any arrangement, regardless of any experience with real instruments.

All the work is done by your iPad and the GarageBand app, just like with the Smart Bass and Smart Drums functionality discussed earlier. Simply launch GarageBand for iPad and follow the steps below, and you’ll be listening to your own sweet tunes in your own sweet time.