The best Black Friday deals 2017

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, they may earn affiliate commissions that support their work. Read their continuously updated list of deals here.

The iRig Keys I/O makes it easy to streamline your studio

Whether you're demoing a song for your band or recording a masterpiece to share on Soundcloud, you'll likely need a couple of things to connect to your computer. If you're planning on having any real instruments or vocals, you'll need some sort of audio interface to turn your analog sounds into digital ones. I have an M-Audio MobilePre USB for that task, which runs about $180 on Amazon. In addition, you probably want to have a MIDI controller, to "play" all those sounds you don't have real instruments for. These can typically cost $250 - $500 or so, depending on features. At $300, IK Multimedia's iRig Keys I/O 49 comes in at the lower end of this bracket.

‘Dance with flARmingos’ in a mixed reality mating ritual

Flamingos rule everything around her. Her clothes are covered in them. Her workspace is littered with representations of their spindly legs and hot-pink plumes. She's spent hours studying their migratory patterns, mating rituals and native environments. She's traveled the world speaking to conservationists and ornithologists to better understand them. She even adopted 20 of the winged icons to aid in her research and their preservation.

PlayStation’s redesigned phone app focuses on socializing

If you've ever used the PlayStation App on your phone, you know how dodgy it has been since launch. Never mind the dated looks -- its interface was a hodgepodge that was never particularly helpful in any one area. At last, though, it's getting a makeover. Sony has released an overhauled PlayStation App for Android and iOS that not only drags the look into the modern era, but borrows more than a few cues from social networking apps. It's dominated by a Facebook-style "what's new" feed that puts your friends' PS4 activity front and center, and clearly does much more to encourage comments and sharing. Even profiles have a more social look, and you get quicker access to your friends list and notifications.

Source: PlayStation Blog

iPhone, Mac and iPad sales all increased this quarter

One day before Apple's most important product launch in years, the company has released its quarterly earnings info. As usual, Apple's fiscal Q4 doesn't contain a full three months of iPhone sales, so it's hard to tell how the launch of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus affected the company, let alone the iPhone X. But, the company did manage to sell 46.7 million iPhones in the last three months, good for a slight 2.6 percent growth compared to a year ago.

Source: Apple

Amazon’s AR shopping feature previews products in your home

Augmented reality shopping tends to be limited to furniture or other large objects, and that's a shame. Wouldn't you like to know how that slow cooker or speaker system looks in your house? Amazon thinks you do. It's launching an AR View feature inside its iOS shopping app that previews "thousands" of products in 3D, ranging from kitchen appliances to toys to electronics (naturally, this includes Amazon's devices). It's clearly something of a party trick, but it could come in handy if you're wondering whether or not that vase matches your decor.

Source: Amazon, App Store

iOS 11.1 brings new emojis and important security updates

Apple has released iOS 11.1 and it comes with over 70 new emojis, the return of 3D Touch multitasking and a handful of bug fixes. Some of the new emojis include a cursing smiley face, a vampire, a hedgehog, Chinese takeout, a sandwich and a mermaid. Some existing emojis have been tweaked to improve their design as well. Once you update your OS, the new selections will appear in your keyboard, and if someone sends you one of the new emojis, they won't show up properly on your phone until you've updated.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: Apple

Apple might build its next iPhone without Qualcomm chips

In the midst of its intensifying legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing iPhones and iPads without its long-time partner's chipsets, reports The Wall Street Journal. Instead, it's eyeing Intel and MediaTek's modem chips as a replacement, according to WSJ's sources. They add that Qualcomm has been withholding software for testing in prototypes of Apple's flagship devices, which will likely further dent relations between the two firms.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Microsoft’s Learning Tools for students heads to Word on iPad

With its Learning Tools, Microsoft has developed a few ways to make it easier for students to get a better handle on reading and writing. One tool, for example, can read your words aloud and help you identify common grammatical issues. Another, called Immersive Reading, can also read text aloud while highlighting it in "focused" view (where words are spaced out in a distraction-free environment). The Learning Tools started out as a OneNote plug-in, but Microsoft has steadily expanded it to Office apps on desktops, mobile and the Web. Today, the company announced they're headed to Word for iPad.

Of course there’s retro-inspired ‘Stranger Things’ mobile game

Netflix has flirted with simple games starring its most popular original series, but its latest stab at interactive promo goes a little deeper. The streaming juggernaut tapped developer BonusXP to make a full-on mobile game for Stranger Things. And as you might expect, it's is about as retro as possible, aping classics of yore like River City Ransom and the NES' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for inspiration. All that to say, it's a bit more complicated than Netflix Infinite Runner from January. You can do sweet jumps on your bicycle as one of the kids and explore the Upside Down as Hawkins police chief Jim Hopper, for example.

Source: iTunes, Google Play

Augmented reality teddy bear teaches kids about being a doctor

Kids frequently don't need much more than their imagination to bring a teddy bear to life, but what if they had a little boost? That's what Seedling hopes to do with Parker. The teddy by itself is the same sort of fluffy companion you likely had as a child, but an augmented reality app for iOS turns the bear into something much more. If you want to play doctor, you can look at Parker's insides to cure a stomach bug or ease a sore throat. You can create magic forests and sea gardens using the AR camera. And importantly you're rewarded for being kind: the more you take care of Parker, the more the bear uses AR to 'transform' the world around you.

Source: Seedling

YouTube’s iOS app shares videos to iMessage with ease

You'd think YouTube's iOS app would have had iMessage sharing early on, but no -- sharing clips to Apple's official messaging client has been a cumbersome affair. Not so after today, however. YouTube has quietly updated the app with a direct-to-Messages sharing option. Tap that and you can quickly send a clip to a friend. The video will play directly in the Messages app, too, so recipients don't have to leave chat to start watching. It's a simple addition, but it promises to make life decidedly easier if you frequently express yourself with funny cat videos.

Via: 9to5Mac

Source: App Store

Apple releases kernel source code tuned for mobile chips

Ever since the first version of OS X, Apple has regularly released the kernel source code for Macs. In theory, you could learn from it or even build your own projects from it. For iOS, though? Not so simple. Even if you had source code, it wouldn't matter much unless it was optimized for the ARM-based chips that you see in most phones and mobile tablets. However, Apple is shaking things up a bit. The company has quietly posted ARM-friendly source code for the XNU kernels used in iOS and macOS. That's particularly relevant if you're interested in iOS, since you now have code that would theoretically run on an iPhone or iPad. However, it's not quite the breakthrough move it seems at first blush.

Via: Reddit

Source: GitHub, Apple Open Source

‘Flower’ brings its zen gameplay to iPhone and iPad

Earlier this month, Apple announced that it had snagged exclusive rights to the next game from indie studio Thatgamecompany. Sky (described as a "romantic social adventure game") will be an Apple TV exclusive. But, there's more to the relationship between the two firms. On Thursday, the developer revealed its given its indie classic Flower the iOS treatment. The game is now available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, priced at $4.99.

Source: Thatgamecompany

Apple extends iTunes movie rentals to 48 hours

It used to be that when you rented a movie from Apple's iTunes service, you'd have 24 hours to finish watching it. You could start streaming the rental within 30 days of purchase, of course. Just a couple of weeks after Apple made 4K an affordable option, the company has doubled the rental time to 48 hours. This is perfect for those of us with young kids who want to watch a movie over (and over and over) or busy schedules that don't let us get to our movies right away. The timer starts even if you're watching the film offline, too.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Apple

D&D Reader app brings paper reference books to your tablet

Dungeon Masters can rest a bit easier now that the library of Dungeons and Dragons core rulebooks will soon be available in an easy-to-lug digital edition. Instead of a stack of heavy paper-bound volumes, you'll be able to take your iPad or Android tablet to your next gaming session loaded up with the upcoming D&D Reader app, which should be available this fall.

Stunning visual puzzler ‘The Witness’ arrives on iOS

After months of teases and rumour, striking 3D puzzle game The Witness has finally landed in the App Store, for both iPhone and iPad. Likened to a modern-day Myst, the open world game sees players wake up on a strange, colorful island with no memory of who they are or how they got there. Only by exploring the vast island, discovering clues and completing curious puzzles can they hope to regain their memory and somehow find their way home. With dozens of locations to discover and more than 500 puzzles to solve, The Witness is a beautiful beast of a game, available now for $10/£10.

Apple’s iTunes update removes the desktop iOS app store

While Apple expanded its iPhone lineup today, a software update delivered for iTunes on Windows and Mac PCs is slimming things down a bit. Once users install version 12.7 they will no longer have access to the App Store from the desktop. As described on Apple's support page, a focus toward "music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks" means that you'll usually need to use your iOS devices to manage the apps installed on them. What it adds in this update is the ability to sync with devices running iOS 11 and social music sharing for Apple Music subscribers.

Via: MacRumors

Source: Apple Support