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NYPD creates task force specifically for stolen iPhones and iPads

i phone new york

If you’re looking to get your iPhone or iPad stolen, all you have to do is wave it around on a New York subway. The theft of these high-cost mobile devices has skyrocketed in the Big Apple, and now the NYPD are responding with a new special task force. Yes, there is now a team of NYC police that specifically track down stolen iDevices. Lost your Android phone? Keep walking.

When a phone is reported stolen, the police will ask the victim for the device’s International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) in the case of iPhones and 3G/4G iPads. This data is then passed along to Apple, which can report to the police the exact location of the device — even if it has been moved to a different carrier.

The police will then actually go and find the missing phone or tablet. Tracking WiFi-only iPads is considerable more difficult because they do not have GPS or an IMEI number tracked by carriers. Still, it’s interesting to see the police taking such an interest in recovering stolen gadgets.

According to the cops, this new initiative is not just about returning stolen devices to their owners, but to learn about the patterns of theft in New York. Often tracking down a single stolen device leads to much more stolen property.

A database for phones went live last last year, allowing carriers to block stolen devices via the IEMI number. There is not currently a unified system for tracking those devices, but integrating with law enforcement is another matter entirely. The police usually have more pressing matters to attend to — it’s just the volume of thefts in New York that led to the creation of this task force.  Read More

13-inch Retina MacBook Pro on the way?

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Devin Coldewey

How a new 13-inch MacBook Pro might look next to its big brother.

One of the things we noted was not announced by Apple at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference was a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina screen. But chatter in the supply line suggests that such a device is almost certainly on its way.

DisplaySearch, which noted that the new MacBook Pro’s 15.4-inch Retina display was being manufactured months ago, says that the 13.3-inch version just wasn’t quite ready to go at launch. But it will come later in the year, and probably in greater quantity than the 15-inchers, the research firm says.

The resolution is expected to be 2,560-by-1,600, somewhat less than the 2,880-by-1,800 on the new models but still twice the pixels in both directions as today’s 13.3-inch MacBook Pros. But manufacturing limits caused Apple to only be able to launch one at mid-year.

Apple chose to launch an expensive item first — the MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $2,199 — and then gradually drop the price and add lower-cost versions, much as it did with the MacBook Air and iPad. DisplaySearch says that the smaller Retina laptops are likely being manufactured and assembled now and could be available later in the summer.  Read More

New Google+ iPhone App Looks So Good, You’ll Wish You Actually Used Google+

The Google+ iPhone app received a major facelift on Wednesday. Image: Screenshot/Christina Bonnington

Google rolled out an update to its Google+ iPhone app Wednesday — and the revamped, redesigned app looks so stunning, you may begin wishing the social network itself wasn’t such a ghost town. Instead of a shrunken-down version of the Google+ website, the app now has an identity of its own, and it’s about time.

Google refreshed the web interface of Google+ with a focus on the “widgetization of social” in April. But rather than taking this approach in the mobile space, the iOS app focuses on sleek, elegant design and usability. Google did not update the Android version of the app — it’ll get its turn in a few weeks and will include a few “extra surprises,” according to Google.

After logging into your account, the app brings you to your Stream, which is now dominated by grays, gradients, and large iPhone-wide graphics. Your posting text, laid on top of the upper portion of its corresponding image, is cut off after two lines. This keeps your focus on imagery, but you can click into a post for its full text, associated comments, and any link that may be attached.

Adding a post to Google+ is very straightforward.

At the bottom of each photo on your Google+ Stream, you can easily tap to +1 a post, or add a comment to it.

At the top of your Stream, a drop-down menu allows you to filter your Stream based on the circles you’ve created. There’s also a pencil icon at the top — click it to post content. When sharing something on the Google+ app, a simple menuing system helps you easily add text, choose which circles of contacts you want to share with, add a location, or add a photo from your camera roll, or from the camera app itself.  Read More

Spotify Releases iPad App at Last, With New Sonic Exploration Features

Smart features make Spotify’s new iPad app a great way to explore music.
Screenshot courtesy Spotify

By Eliot Van Buskirk, Evolver.fm

When we finally saw Spotify’s new iPad app in the company’s New York City offices this week, we breathed a sigh of relief on behalf of all the breathless Spotify fans who have been demanding its release.

A web search for “iPad Spotify app” on the eve of the announcement revealed millions of matches, including at least one for a Facebook group dedicated to pressuring Spotify into releasing a native iPad app. Some even called for a boycott of the service, making it clear that this relatively young company, whose goal is to become “the OS of music,” is already inspiring Apple-like adoration — and the accompanying petulant demands — from the public at large.

From what we saw, we don’t imagine they will be disappointed when they download this thing starting today. Spotify’s new iPad app doesn’t include any whiz-bang features, such as navigating music in a 3-D map, running third-party apps, or anything like that. But it’s well suited to the iPad’s large screen and Retina display, taking advantage of the extra space, deeper color palette and higher resolution without departing so far as to confuse or alienate users.  Read More

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