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Apple not paying off politicians might be costing them in the courts

Apple spends far, far less time and money lobbying and otherwise making nice with Washington than their competitors like Google and Amazon. That lack of pragmatism might be costing them in recent DOJ investigations and court proceedings, at least according to Steve Friess at Politico:

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Why the iPad is more like the iPod than iPhone

The iPad business being closer to Apple's iPod business than the carrier-entangled iPhone business isn't a new theory, but given the increased maturity of the product line, it's one that's increasingly subject to objective rather than subjective analysis. And that's just what Ben Thompson of Stratechery has started doing, not only for today, but what it could mean for the future:

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Would you want Siri to be 'always listening' for your voice commands? [Poll]

Both the upcoming Xbox One from Microsoft and Moto X from Google feature "always listening" functionality for their voice-controlled, natural language interfaces. So what about Apple and Siri? Should the next iPhone and iPads have the microphone that you can also choose to turn on and set to perpetually listen and process, and keep ready for everything and anything we say, waiting to key onto a command phrase that signals we want to use it - "Okay, Google Now!" - er... - "hey Siri!"?

There's a power concerns, of course. Xbox One is plugged in and therefore has no battery life to worry about, but the iPhone or iPad, like the Moto X, would absolutely have to do everything it can to conserve power. Beyond the technical issues, however, are privacy concerns. The news is already filled with stories of governments and companies allegedly spying on our communications, do we really trust them with constantly enabled mics? And what about simple system errors? I've had bits of conversation accidentally sent to me from Google Glass glitches, imagine the potential for mistakes with mainstream systems?

On the flip side, "always listening" can also be incredibly convenient. When your hands are full, or your device is out of reach, being able to command it with words alone is beyond useful. Likewise, Siri is already behind Google Now when it comes to functionality, including localized voice parsing, predictive responses, and more, and not doing "always listening" would put it one more feature down on the parity list.

Do you think the upcoming iOS 7 on the rumored iPhone 5s should start playing catch up? Apple's offered exclusive new features on hardware before, so would an extra processing core for onboard and persistent voice processing be interesting to you? Would you want your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad mic to be flipped on all the time, and Siri to be "always listening" for your commands?

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Verizon offers 500MB 'Share Everything' plan

Verizon has quietly introduced a new 500MB tier to its "Share Everything" plan. The new price structure undercuts Verizon's previous low-end offering - 1GB per month for $50. It helps the company compete with rival AT&T, which offers a 300MB per month for $30, reports Engadget.

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iMore show LIVE! 1pm PDT, 4pm EDT! Be here!

The iMore show returns today to talk all the week's iPhone, iPad, and Mac news! Join Rene, Peter, and special guest John C. Welch!

Update: John sadly couldn't make it, Peter and I soldiered on anyway!

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Would you use a finger-print scanner on the iPhone 5S or future iPad? [Poll]

Would you use a finger-print scanner on the iPhone 5s or future iPad?

A fingerprint scanner - a biometric way to verify your identity - is one of the strongest, most likely rumors making the rounds about the upcoming iPhone 5s, widely expected to be announced by Apple this fall. Whether it's ultimately announced or not, and whether it's built into the Home button or not, the idea has been picking up speed since Apple bought biometric specialist AuthenTec last year, and will likely continue to do so up until the iPhone 5s is announced on stage.

There's a strong argument to made for a fingerprint - or more specifically, a thumbprint - scanner in the next iPhone, and even the next iPods and iPads. Entering passwords on mobile sucks. Keyboards on mobile aren't as fast as desktop keyboards, nor is the software as forgiving. That tends to make people use shorter, simpler passwords, or no passwords at all.

At the same time, mobile devices hold as much if not more personal information about us than anything that's ever come before. They're becoming our virtual identity. They need to be secure.

Questions remain about how it could be implemented, however. If in the Home button, than how will it work? If not in the Home button, than where? Would a thumb scan be enough or would/should a Passcode still be required as well. How would sharing a device, like an iPad, work for multiple family members or co-workers? How would lending a device to a friend work? Will third party apps be able to use it for authentication as well?

The most important question, though, is would you use it? What would Apple have to do - how much automagic-ness will they have to employ, to make biometric authentication as mainstream as they have smartphones, tablets, and natural language?

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Apple vs. Google/Samsung numbers: Lies, damn lies, and sloppy statistics

There's a trio of strange stories this week that all revolve around the reporting of Apple vs. Samsung statistics, or rather the rush to propagate incorrect, sensationalistic, negative narratives around the currently trendy Apple is doomed theme. Things like Google saying the Nexus 7 outsold the iPad mini in Japan, or reports of Samsung beating Apple on profitability. Yet what's interesting is that these stories didn't stop there. People looked into them, dug into them, and called bullshit.

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Bored again: Does the iPhone lull have you checking out other phones?

It's easy to succumb to envy in the mobile world. The iPhone 5 is currently the oldest flagship smartphone on the market. Meanwhile Android OEM's such as Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, and Motorola seem to be releasing new phones every week. Nokia is dropping new Windows Phones fairly regularly, and even BlackBerry has put out three new phones in the last six months. Against all that, it's easy to see why gadget geeks with big phone love could be eyeing - or even trying - alternate phones while they wait. Given some thought the iPhone 5 was boring at launch, is it possible even iPhone owners are bored now?

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Nexus 7 (2013) gets reviewed, kicks off round 2 of the iPad mini fight

The new Nexus 7, the 2013 edition, was unveiled last week, beating the current iPad mini on specs, including display density, and trouncing it on price. Yet in terms of tablet software, the story remained the same - more big phone apps than real tablet apps. But with those specs, that cheap, will anyone care? Android Central's Andrew Martonik has just finished his complete Nexus 7 review and here's his take:

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Is the iPad App Store coming up blank for you? You're not alone!

We're been getting multiple reports from readers that the iOS App Store on the iPad is coming up blank for them for the last couple of days. The iPhone and iPod touch seem unaffected. Some reports say the entire App Store fails to load, while others say only the Updates tab fails to load. Either way, it's frustrating for those experiencing it.

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