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APPLE’S IPAD AIR 2 AND RETINA IMAC EVENT ROUND-UP

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As s expected, Apple‘s press event on Thursday debuted more than a couple pieces of new hardware. Most notably, the previously leaked iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 have been announced with release dates and pricing. And while there’s no news of an updated MacBook, the new 27-inch iMac has finally received a Retina display.

 

iPad Air 2

The original iPad Air was plenty thin to begin with, but Apple has now trimmed the iPad Air 2 down even further to a less-than-pencil-thin 6.1mm; that’s an 18 percent decrease from the prior generation.

And if you spend any time reading on your iPad out in the sun, a new laminated screen boast 56 percent less reflection. The rear-facing 8-megapixel iSight camera and updated, front-side FaceTime HD camera are updated with better face detection functions.

 

Additionally, Apple claims the new iPad Air 2 is much faster on the network side of things, thanks to improved 802.11ac MIMO Wi-Fi. The device is backed up with the A8X processor chip–the same found in the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. And the Touch ID home button has also made its way to Apple’s tablet.

iPad Air 2 is available for pre-order tomorrow, and shipping next week. A 16GB Wi-Fi model will retail for $500 USD, while 64GB and 128GB models will cost $600 and $700, respectively. Adding on cellular compatibility will raise the price by $130.

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iPad Mini 3

The iPad Mini 3 didn’t receive quite as many new features as its bigger sibling, but there are a couple notable changes.

Namely, the Mini 3 will also tack on the Touch ID sensor and receives faster Wi-Fi connectivity via 802.11ac with MIMO. And in case that Iggy Azalea song featured in recent Apple commercials has wormed into your ear, you can now pick up an iPad Mini 3 in a gold finish. You’re so fancy.

iPad Mini 3 will also be available for pre-order tomorrow, and ships the following week. The tablet will cost $400 USD for a 16GB model, $500 for 64GB, and $600 for 128GB.

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The New 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina Display

While there were hints Apple would reveal a new all-in-one desktop today, the inclusion of a Retina display was a nice surprise. But even more surprising, perhaps, is Cupertino’s decision to ramp the display up to 5K.

Certainly, 4K resolution displays are making some headway in both PC monitors and HDTVs, but Apple is one of only a select group of computer manufacturers who have taken things to the next level.

Apple claims the 5K display on the new 27-inch iMac features 14.7 million pixels, with a resolution that’s seven times greater than a standard 1080p HDTV.

The new iMac also features Intel processors, ranging from a 3.5GHz Intel i5 to a 4GHz i7. Graphically, you can expect a Radeon R9 M290X; a 900MHz mobile chip with 2GB GDDR5. Much like the last update to the iMac line, the new Retina iMac features a 1TB fusion drive, which blends SSD speeds with HDD storage.

The new iMac is available today for $2,500 USD.

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Mac Mini Gets An Update

The iMac wasn’t the only Mac on the docket today, though. Apple has finally updated its little Mac Mini with better processors and other features. Cupertino last updated the Mini back in 2012.

Launching today for $500, the Mac Mini now includes 4th generation Intel Core processors, Intel Iris and HD Graphics 500 for graphics duty, and PCIe-based flash storage.

Additionally, you can expect improved 802.11ac Wi-Fi and two Thunderbolt 2 ports in what Apple calls its “most energy efficient desktop.”

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OS X Yosemite Available Today, iOS 8.1 Next Week

The latest–and free–update to the Mac operating system is available today for download. Among the previously announced features, you can expect a newly designed Dock and continuity features that make it easier to switch between Apple devices.

 

A new Messages app allows SMS texts from even non-iOS device users, and calls to your iPhone can be transferred straight to the desktop.

Additionally, the first major update for Apple’s mobile platform, iOS 8.1, will be available on October 20. While Apple says 8.1 will usher in new features for iPhone and iPad–including Apple Pay, which launches Monday–just remember your emulators are dead. So long, emulators.

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Missing in Action: Apple TV

Unfortunately, there’s still no word on a new Apple TV. The last major update to the digital media player was two years ago, and despite steady rumors of a new set-top box, Apple CEO Tim Cook ended the event without any sign of the little box.

And what makes this even stranger, is Apple’s mentioning of new AirPlay functionality. Apparently, AirPlay will now allow you to stream media to your Apple TV without the need for a Wi-Fi connection. Ah, well, maybe next time.

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Pharrell And Ray Lewis – Natural Born Hitters

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This mixtape is a collaboration between Under Armour and two of the world’s greatest hitmakers in the realms of music and sports, Pharell Williams and Ray Lewis. The tracks on this mixtape are inspired by the film, ‘Ready for August’ which are based on the true life experiences of Ray Lewis during his high school football years. Each track is reflective of a key moment in the film, Training, Practice and Pregame. Music and sports have always complemented each other, but have never hit so hard until now. Copy and paste this link now!: http://ua.com/naturalbornhitters/#contest

1. Training (Feat. Ray Lewis) [Prod. By Pharrell Williams]
2. Practice [Prod. By Pharrell Williams]
3. Pregame (Feat. Ray Lewis) [Prod. By Pharrell Williams]

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Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

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PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee sprinter dubbed the Blade Runner, was charged Thursday in the Valentine’s Day slaying of his girlfriend at his upscale home in South Africa, a shocking twist to one of the feel-good stories of last summer’s Olympics.

Pistorius buried his face in the hood of his workout jacket as officers escorted him from a police station after his arrest in the shooting death of Reeva Steenkamp, a 30-year-old model who had spoken out on Twitter against rape and abuse of women.

olice said she was shot four times in the pre-dawn hours at Pistorius’ villa in a gated community in the capital, Pretoria. Officers found a 9 mm pistol inside the home and arrested Pistorius on a murder charge.

What sparked the shooting remained unclear, but police said they had received calls in the past about domestic altercations at the home of the 26-year-old athlete, who has spoken publicly about his love of firearms.

A police spokeswoman, Brigadier Denise Beukes, said the incidents included “allegations of a domestic nature.”

“I’m not going to elaborate on it, but there have been incidents,” Beukes said. She said Pistorius was home at the time of Steenkamp’s death and “there is no other suspect involved.”

Pistorius made history in the London Games when he became the first double-amputee track athlete to compete in the Olympics. He didn’t win a medal but did make the semifinals of the 400 meters and became an international star.

Thursday, companies quickly removed billboards and advertising featuring Pistorius, a national hero in South Africa who also inspired fans worldwide with the image of his high-tech carbon-fiber blades whipping through the air.

Kenny Oldwage, Pistorius’ lawyer, told reporters the athlete was “emotional” after his arrest, “but he is keeping up.” He said he planned to seek bail for Pistorius at a preliminary hearing Friday.

Pistorius has had troubles in the past in his personal life, which often featured fast cars, cage fighters and women.

In February 2009, he crashed a speedboat on South Africa’s Vaal River, breaking his nose, jaw and several ribs and damaging an eye socket. He required 180 stitches to his face. Witnesses said he had been drinking, and officers found alcoholic beverages in the wreckage, though they did not do blood tests.

In November, Pistorius was involved in an altercation over a woman with a local coal mining millionaire, South African media reported. The two men involved the South African Police Service’s elite Hawks investigative unit before settling the matter.

Pistorius’ father, Henke Pistorius, said Thursday: “We all pray for guidance and strength for Oscar and the lady’s parents.”

A spokeswoman for Pistorius at Fast Track, an international sports marketing agency in London, said the athlete was assisting with the investigation and there would be no further comment “until matters become clearer.”

The sprinter’s former coach, Andrea Giannini, said he hoped the shooting was “just a tragic accident.”

“No matter how bad the situation was, Oscar always stayed calm and positive,” Giannini told The Associated Press in Italy. “Whenever he was tired or nervous, he was still extremely nice to people. I never saw him violent.”

Firearms captivated Pistorius, the subject of an online Nike advertisement that featured him with the caption: “I am a bullet in the chamber.” In November 2011, he posted a photograph on Twitter of himself at a shooting range, bragging about his score. “Had a 96% headshot over 300m from 50shots! Bam!” he wrote.

Linked to a number of women by the South African media, Pistorius and Steenkamp were first seen together publicly in November. She was named one of the world’s 100 Sexiest Women for two years running by the men’s magazine FHM.

The leggy blonde with a law degree also appeared in international and South African ads and was a celebrity contestant on “Tropika Island of Treasure,” a South African reality show filmed in Jamaica.

While known for her bikini-clad, vamping photo spreads, she tweeted messages urging women to stand up against rape. Her tweets also focused on Pistorius, with one of her last messages noting her excitement over Valentine’s Day.

“What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow?” she wrote. “It should be a day of love for everyone.”

Police have not publicly named Steenkamp as the victim, saying only that a 30-year-old woman was killed. Steenkamp’s publicist, however, confirmed in a statement that the model had died.

“Everyone is simply devastated,” the publicist, Sarit Tomlinson, said. “She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth and will be sorely missed.”

Police arrived at Pistorius’ home after 3 a.m., and paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive Steenkamp, police spokeswoman Lt. Col. Katlego Mogale said.

Officers later took Pistorius to a hospital so doctors could collect samples for DNA testing and check his blood alcohol content.

Pistorius had both legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday because of a congenital condition, and campaigned for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes.

He was initially banned because of his carbon fiber blades — which critics said gave him an unfair advantage — before being cleared by sport’s highest court in 2008.

He was a last-minute selection to South Africa’s Olympic team, competing in the 400 meters and the 4×400 relay. He later retained his Paralympic title in the 400 meters.

South Africa’s Sports Confederation, its Olympic committee and the International Paralympic Committee all had no comment on the shooting.

Shock rippled across South Africa, a nation of 50 million where nearly 50 people are killed each day, one of the world’s highest murder rates. U.N. statistics say South Africa also has the second highest rate of shooting deaths in the world, behind only Colombia.

“The question is: Why does this story make the news? Yes, because they are both celebrities, but this is happening on every single day in South Africa,” said Adele Kirsten, a member of Gun Free South Africa.

“We have thousands of people killed annually by gun violence in our country. So the anger is about that it is preventable.”

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Michael Jordan: Give me Kobe over LeBron

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Michael Jordan likes the bling of Kobe Bryant better than the King.

Michael Jordan said in an interview with NBA TV that, if given a choice, he would take Bryant over LeBron James.

Widely considered the greatest player of all-time, Jordan said it would be a tough choice between Bryant and James. However, Bryant’s five titles with the Los Angeles Lakers compared to just one for James with the Miami Heat, would be his deciding factor.

“Five beats one every time I look at it,” Jordan said. “And not that (James) won’t get five. He may get more than that, but five is bigger than one.”

Of course, Bryant has been around a lot longer than James to rack up his titles. Bryant is in his 17th season while James is in his 10th.

James, in the midst of a record run where he has put together at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting in six straight games, was not too worried about Jordan’s choice.

“It doesn’t matter to me,” James said at the Heat’s shootaround in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. “If you take Kobe one and I go second, it doesn’t matter. I don’t get too involved in what guys say about me or if you take Kobe or if you take LeBron. As long as I’m on the floor and I make plays for my teammates, I don’t do what I do for other people’s approval.”

Jordan, who turns 50 years old on Sunday, won six championships with the Chicago Bulls and was named NBA MVP five times over his celebrated career.

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