Parsound Intros JC3 Junior Phono Preamp

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Customers dipping their tones into the world of vinyl get a lower-cost phono preamplifier option from Parasound-- the JC3 Junior, a compact version of the JC3+ preamp catering for a wide range of MM and MC cartridges.

JC3 JuniorThe JC3 Junior handles 50 to 550 ohm continuously, with variable MC impedance. It has a mono switch for use with older vinyl, and offers selectable gain output, gold-plated balanced and single-ended output terminals, and a 12V trigger for system integration. The S/N ratio reaches up to 94dB, while THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) is specified below 0.02%.

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Best Buy Pins Improvement Hopes on Smart Home

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Best Buy puts smart home as the cornerstone of a renewed retail strategy-- Best Buy 2020, a 3-year plan based on 3 tiers, specifically smart home, assisted living and in-home tech support.

Best Buy smart home“Our Renew Blue transformation was about improving the customer experience and fixing what was broken,” CEO Hubert Joly says. “Building on what we have accomplished, we are excited by the opportunities we have in this next chapter to grow the company by helping customers pursue their passions and enrich their lives with the help of technology, which is a much bigger idea and one that is rich with opportunities.”

As part of Best Buy 2020, the American retailer plans to enhance the smart home areas in all stores, roll out the Best Buy Smart Home Powered by Vivint automation and security offering to 450 stores, and add 1500 dedicated smart home employees. Another related expansion involves an in-Home Advisor program with 300 specially-trained advisors providing customers free in-home consultations related to home automation.

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Truphone iPad Data Plan Reaches More Countries

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The Truphone Apple SIM-based iPad data plan is available two more European countries-- specifically Ireland and Portugal, allowing customers roam through the carrier on their iPad in 40 countries.

Truphone dataCurrently 6 countries offer the Truphone iPad data plan, namely Australia, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the UK. The company plans to expand the number with an additional 31 countries by end 2017, bringing the total to 39. The data plan allows customers to roam in the aforementioned countries without additional charges, without need to change carriers or additional roaming fees.

The backbone of the system is Apple SIM, the technology included in cellular-capable iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3 (and newer) and all iPad Pro models. It saves the need to change the physical SIM card and simplifies the sign-up process through the "Set Up Mobile Data" section in the Settings app.

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Apple Stores Sell AR Bear

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Apple Stores get a curious exclusive from startup Seedling-- Parker the Bear, a plush teddy bear children bring to life through iDevice-powered augmented reality effects.

Parker bearThe capabilities of the ARKit API found in iOS 11 and the latest iPhones mean Parker does not require additional hardware to interact with digital devices. Instead, it simply uses a free companion Seedling app and a variety of included accessories, such as a doctor's kit, backpack and X-ray bibs, to trigger different AR effects.

For instance, the iDevice acts as an X-ray for more in-depth examination of Parker's bones and organs, while 3D Touch helps Parker take deep breaths for a lung capacity test. The app also includes games and puzzles, while the accessories are made from wood, not plastic or synthetic materials.

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Does Apple Slow Down Older iPhones?

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Futuremark releases the results of a year's worth of benchmarks to verify the long-running rumour of Apple slowing down older iPhones in order to encourage the upgrade cycle-- something the company does not, in fact, do!

iPhone slowdownFor those not in the know, Futuremark is the developer of popular benchmarking software 3DMark. The benchmark is available for iDevices, and allows reviewers and power users to check the performance of their iPhone before and after the installation of apps and updates. Since 2016 Futuremark has stored over 100000 of such comparisons for 7 iPhone models across 3 different iOS versions, providing "a unique insight into the everyday performance of each iPhone model over time."

The result? Contrary to the conspiracy theory iPhone performance does not degrade over time. 3D Mark aggregates the results for iPhone 5, 6 and 7 using both a CPU and GPU benchmark, and performance remains remarkably consistent-- even in the case of an iPhone 5s upgraded to iOS 9, 10 and 11.

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