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These Retailers Are Celebrating Black Friday Early This Year

With the Covid-19 pandemic throwing a major wrench in the way we all shop, many major retailers throughout the country are deciding to start their Black Friday deals online and early to give consumers ample time to take advantage of the year’s biggest day of sales. And since it’s still early in the holiday season, getting all of your shopping done now will make for less stress later. 

Abbio: The week of October 23rd to October 30th Abbio kitchen is offering its customers 25% of the entire site as a part of the brand’s pre-Thanksgiving VIP sale. Just use the code ABBIOHOLIDAY25 at checkout to receive your deal. Additionally, if you miss this round of sales, from November 26th to November 30th Abbio will be offering 25% off the entire site again for Black Friday/Cyber Monday, simply use code ABBIOBF25 at checkout. 

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Best Buy: Best Buy has already started their holiday season with their daily Deal of the Day. This type of promotion is typical for major retailers like Best Buy during the holiday season, as it gives consumers something to look forward to in regard to waiting for something they want to go on sale. As the name suggests the item on sale changes everyday, but so far Best Buy has offered savings on amazing technology such as the Bella Pro Series 8-quart air fryer, Nixplay digital photo frame, Wakeman camping tent and Conair Hot Air Brush Styler. 

Dell: If you’re in the market for a new PC laptop or computer this holiday season look no further than Dell. Dell is known already for being one of the most affordable and well-functioning brands in terms of their personal computers. The company has already begun rolling out some Black Friday deals on their monitors and other various electronics; currently laptop models are on sale for up to 28% off!

Home Depot: If you have a handy individual in your life you’ve most likely shopped at Home Depot for gifts before, or maybe you just need to pick up some new materials for a home improvement project and you don’t want to break the bank. Either way, Home Depot is already offering a multitude of holiday sales, their biggest has yet to come, however. From November 6th to December 2nd Home Depot will be offering deals on holiday decorations, appliances, tools, and more. You can even pre-order your Christmas Tree now to make it less stressful for you come December!

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Lowe’s: Keeping up with the home improvement theme, Lowe’s is also offering a bunch of holiday deals this year. Like Best Buy, Lowes has begun offering one-day Cyber Steals to motivate customers to check their website everyday for what the daily deal might be. So far the savings have reached up to 40% on select appliances and home renovation items!

Macy’s: Macy’s is known for being one of the go-to establishments on Black Friday, and this year they’re carrying that energy into their online Black Friday deals; which will officially begin on November 16th. Macy’s will have sales in every single one of their departments as usual. 

Target: Target will begin offering their Balck Friday deals throughout the entire month of November with discounts on home goods, clothing, accessories, electronics, and even groceries. Starting on November 29th customers will be able to preview the stores weekly Black Friday Now deals that will last for the entirety of the holiday season. Also, this year Target is introducing price-adjustments from November 1st to December 24th on any item that’s advertised as a Black Friday deal but offered at a lower price online or in store. 

Walmart: This retail giant normally always starts their Black Friday deals early in the season to ease some of the pressure of the actual day. Walmart is starting their deals on November 4th and will progressively add more and more as time goes on until it’s actual Black Friday.

Apple Store

What To Expect From Apple’s Virtual Event And How To Watch

The day is finally here, after weeks of production delays brought on by the pandemic, Apple is projected to release their new line of iPhone’s along with a whole slew of other products today, October 13th, during a virtual event that will begin at 10 a.m. Pacific Time

In terms of the iPhone 12 and other predictions for what’s to be revealed today, it’s important to note that so far these are all just predictions, however, many of them are based on professional tech blogs and workers who have made correct predictions in the past about the iPhone’s we’ve already seen on the market. 

The iPhone 12 is likely to be the first major revamp of the phone’s physical design since 2017, when Apple revealed the iPhone X which no longer had a home button and used facial recognition technology to unlock the device. Analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors that this event will be a “once in a decade” moment for the tech giant. 

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“We believe iPhone 12 represents the most significant product cycle for Apple since iPhone 6 in 2014, and it will be another defining chapter in the Apple growth story looking ahead despite a softer consumer spending environment.”

The theme of this year’s event is “speed,” which could mean a variety of things, however, the biggest prediction based on the theme itself is that the next iPhone will have 5G capabilities, a faster chipset, faster display refresh rate, and more! Some individuals also believe that the new line of iPhones will have fingerprint unlocking capabilities through the power or volume buttons, for those who opt not to use the facial recognition feature.

Specifically, Apple is projected to launch the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. The Mini is expected to have a 5.4 inch display and will be available in the standard 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB models. 

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The standard iPhone 12 will feature a 6.1 inch display and have the same storage capacity options as the mini. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max will have a 6.2 inch display and their storage configuration will likely begin at 128 GB based on past Pro Max iPhone models. The iPhone 12 series is set to begin pricing at $699 with the Mini and will likely go up to $1099 for the Pro models. 

The iPhone 12 series isn’t the only thing fans are looking forward to being announced this afternoon. It’s predicted that Apple will also be releasing over-ear wireless headphones called Airpods Studio, as well as a potential upgrade to HomePod speakers as well. 

Apple might also finally give consumers AirTags, which is something they’ve been teasing for quite some time now. Airtags would work as a GPS tracking service for things like your keys, phone, laptop, or anything else you find yourself consistently using. With the help of Bluetooth technology, one can just log onto any of their devices and track down whatever object they’re looking for that they’ve tagged. 

The Apple event is online-only today due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, this also means anyone can watch it. Normally, patrons would have to wait until after the event to see all the products launched, but now, customers can simply go onto Apple’s Website at 10 a.m. PT, which is 1 p.m. ET, 6 p.m. BST and 4 a.m. AEDT on Oct. 14.

Nest Home Speaker

Everything You Need To Know About Google’s New Home Speaker, Nest Audio

Google is no stranger to creating smart home technology that anyone can use to make their at-home life a little more luxurious. Now, they’ve released their new Nest Audio smart speaker system, which is their next generation of full-size smart speaker for everyday use. The new speaker promises to improve upon speaker volume by an “astounding percentage.” 

Nest Audio is going to replace the original Google Home line of smart speakers, but it will not be replacing the Google Nest, despite their similar names. Google Home Max, Nest Mini, Nest Hub, and Nest Hub Max smart displays will all also remain available as a part of Google’s smart home technology. 

As of right now the Google Store is taking pre-orders for the Nest Audio for $100, but will discount that price by $20 for every two you buy; so if you bought two they would technically cost $90 each. Orders for Nest Audio will begin shipping out in the US, Canada, and India on October 5th and will be available in physical retail establishments starting October 15th. 

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The Nest Audio comes in five pastel colors; chalk, charcoal, sage, sand, and sky blue. The speaker itself is covered in a fabric-like mesh material that is made of 70% recycled plastic. Most tech experts, however, are more concerned about what’s actually different between the Nest Audio and previous Google Home speaker models that it will be replacing. 

The Nest Audio has a 3-inch woofer speaker system, which when compared to Google Home’s single 2-inch model gives off a better bass control with the ability to hit cleaner, higher notes. The quad-core processor internally also gives Nest Audio a much quicker response time and aids the device in emitting a rich, crisp sound. 

The Nest Audio also has a dedicated machine learning chip within it that performs on-device processing when it comes to privacy and response time. Aesthetically, focus groups are obsessing over the “loaf-like” design of the new speakers, claiming it looks sleek and less like an air freshener when compared to previous Google models. 

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One of the major points of contention over this “re-branding” of sorts from Google is whether or not all Google Home speakers will be Nest Audio now or not. As of right now, it’s looking like Google will stick with their tradition of clear branding by embracing the name “Nest across more of their smart home devices in the future.

This renaming has also confused current Google Home speaker users on whether or not they’ll need a new app to control the newer speakers. As of right now Google has two apps that connect to their home technology, one for nest and one for Google Home. The names of the devices have ever matched up with the applications, the Nest app is used mainly for security cameras, and thermostats while Google Home’s app controls the speakers, so Nest Audio will likely sync up with that app. 

There’s no word on any new Google Assistant commands that will be made available with the Nest Audio launch, however the company has claimed that the speaker in general has easier to use controls and sound quality that will work enough to separate it from its predecessors.

Woman on her Smartphone

10 Of The Best Smartphone Apps To Help Keep You Organized 

During the Covid-19 lockdown, we’ve all had to adjust to a new life of working from home, attending classes, and organizing our lives to adjust to this new normal of at-home living. Apps like Zoom, Slack, and Discord have made collaboration and remote work possible, but what about when it comes to personal productivity and lifestyle goals? Below are some of the most popular apps that individuals are using at-home right now to better organize their lives: 

FamilyWall: This App is Android and iOS friendly and is perfect for keeping in touch with your large family. The app itself connects you with your family members and allows you to share your weekly schedules with one another so that you can better coordinate when to do certain chores, errands and other family activities. 

Focus: This app is available for all Apple devices and is known for assisting users in managing their time. It structures your day into 25-minute working blocks with other small task/break times. You can use the app to further track the tasks you’ve already done around the house for a given week. 

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Kitche: Kitche is a great app for smartphone users who are teaching themselves the art of frugal cooking and working with pantry ingredients to create something delicious. Users can simply scan their supermarket receipts so the app knows what ingredients you have available. The app will then help you plan a meal based on what’s in your cabinets and can even warn you when certain products are about to expire.

Slidebox: Slidebox is an app that will help assist photo hoarders better organize their phone’s photo albums so that unnecessary/unwanted images are no longer taking up storage on your device. It scans through your device for duplicate images and random screenshots and will then give you options to delete certain pictures while providing album organization ideas. 

Evernote: Evernote has been one of the most popular note apps on all Android and Apple devices for years now. Now, the app is completely upgraded and is one of the easiest note-taking apps to navigate and use in 2020. 

Cardhop: Cardhop is an app that assists users who are used to doing a lot of networking. This app works as a second contact storage list for your phone, and lets users write down specific notes and attachments to certain contacts in their phones to make some more easily recognizable. 

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Smart Receipts: Smart Receipts is the best app for compiling your receipts digitally for the year so that when it’s time to file for your tax returns/need your tax information for employment purposes you’ll have it all in one place. The data from the receipts is collected and compiled into various spreadsheets that can be formatted to be exported across multiple devices. 

Any.Do: This app has been reviewed as the “swiss army knife of productivity apps” due to its part calendar, part to-do list format. The app uses smart features for syncing up with other apps on your device to make your life as easy and organized as possible. 

GoHenry: GoHenry is the app made for parents with kids who now have their own bank accounts. This app allows parents to easily manage and monitor their kids finances so that they can add or remove funds with the click of a button. This way if your child was out and needed some money quickly for a train ticket or what not, parents can easily send them the funds in less than a minute. 

Otter: Otter is an excellent tool for workers who either talk to themselves a lot, are involved in a lot of meetings, are responsible for transcribing, etc. The voice-recording app helps users transcribe the memos they take to make it easy for them to search through in the future.

iOS 14

New iOS 14 Features iPhone Users May Not Know About Yet 

Now that Apple has released their much anticipated iOS software update for their mobile devices, iPhone and iPad users everywhere are taking advantage of all the new features and layout changes that came with it. There’s often so many new features that come along with these annual updates that tech lovers can sometimes overlook some of them, so here’s a list of some of the more unique and unknown ones: 

Setting Your Default Email/Web Browser: After years of complaints from users that they cant change their default search engine on their device, Apple has finally decided to let them not only delete the standard ‘Mail’ and ‘Safari’ apps from their devices, but assign their own defaults as well. Users simply open settings and scroll to the bottom where it lists every installed app on your device. Find the mail or Safari app and tap on it, here’ you’ll see them listed as the “Default” browser or email app. Once there you can select and choose your own!

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Getting Rid Of App Home screens: If you’re the type of person who puts every app that they rarely use on a specific page, tucked away, now you can literally hide the entire page from your device’s main set up. Just long-press a single area of your home screen to trigger the new “edit mode,” which will then allow you to tap on the page indicator and remove the page itself. This will not delete the apps on those pages, but will instead move them into the App library where they’re more hidden. 

Searching The Emoji Keyboard: Emoji’s are arguably the most popular keyboard shortcuts available on any device, and now, users can finally search for which emoji they want at any given moment instead of having to endlessly scroll through general categories to find one. All you have to do is launch the emoji keyboard like you normally would and you’ll now find a search bar at the top of the keyboard!

Hidden Photo’s Get A Much Needed Security Update: Previously, if you were to select any number of photos to be “hidden” away from your Photos App’s main page, the photos were simply moved to a hidden folder on the app that practically anyone could go to and click on. With iOS 14, Apple has now added an option to hide the hidden album completely. Users can go into Settings, Photos and then make sure the Hidden Album is switched to “off.” Once this setting is activated, users can only access the pictures in that album if they go back into settings and turn the switch on. 

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Picture In Picture: iPhone users can finally take advantage of Picture In Picture viewing, a setting that was previously only available on the iPad. Now users can make FaceTime calls while replying to emails or text messages without that blurred “Paused” window appearing to the other users. This feature also allows for individuals to continue to watch YouTube videos or TV Shows while scrolling through social media. 

Faux Eye Contact In FaceTime: With iOS 14, users who are facetiming will be able to give their friends/family/loved ones the illusion that they’re looking right at them when they’re looking directly at their screen. It’s one of the more subtle features of the update, but nonetheless, many are excited to see how it looks to make “eye contact” with the people they’re talking to as if they were in person. 

Back Tap: A new accessibility feature now allows users to trigger certain system functions by tapping on the back of their phone. By going into Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap, users can select the amount of taps they want to use and the action they want to initiate. These actions include triggering the Control Center to appear, launching Siri, taking a screenshot, and more!

TikTok on Screen

TikTok To Host Month-Long Virtual Fashion Event 

This time of year is typically when Fashion Weeks all over the world would be starting. Some cities are finding virtual or socially distanced alternatives to keep the shows from being fully cancelled, while some other unlikely platforms are creating their own fashion events for those stuck at home. Recently, social media platform TikTok announced they would be hosting their own fashion month as a “digital innovation aimed at rivaling the physical fashion weeks.” 

TikTok is competing with the likes of Instagram, the social media app mainly known for sharing fashionable content. The month-long event will begin this Friday, September 18th, and will end on October 8th. The shows are projected to feature a variety of hashtags and live videos from designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, Alice and Olivia, and more. Users can simply open TikTok and scroll through a variety of hashtags and show titles to see some of their favorite designers, and even some new unheard of ones. 

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Many industries have begun using TikTok in general to promote their work/business as the platform has grown monumentally within the past year alone. Jessica Schiffer is the contributing editor of Vogue Business who recently spoke with the media about why bigger industry names were hesitant at first to use the app. 

“I think fashion labels were unsure of TikTok’s marketing potential. The lack of stylization probably seemed antithetical to fashion, which loves the polished confines of platforms like Instagram.”

However, this past summer the fashion industry was completely flipped on its head, like the rest of the world, with the Covid-19 pandemic. Without the normal retail advertising and in-person promotions that can propel a brand into mainstream success, many labels found themselves struggling. 

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The idea of online shopping has obviously taken over within the past few years, however, now brands are realizing it has to account for a majority of their advertising, selling, and distribution. Brands began releasing short artsy minute-long clips as a replacement for real-life fashion events, and eventually TikTok began creating fashion trends and launching them into the mainstream faster than ever before. 

Some examples of the fashion movements that have gained billions of views on the app include the cottagecore aesthetic, a hashtag that has gained over 3 billion views, and the more dark-sided Dark Academia goth aesthetic; which has gained over 61 million views. CeCe Vu is the fashion content partnership leader at TikTok who recently released a statement about their fashion month and why the platform is so beneficial for artists and creators. 

“We’ve seen the fashion industry reinvent what luxury fashion means to culture and society through TikTok by bringing fashion into the homes of our community during quarantine. TikTok is where authenticity meets creativity and people are genuinely comfortable sharing their true selves.”

About 70% of all TikTok users are 13-24 years old, which at first was seen as a negative in regards to fashion marketing, however, these kids are also teaching their parents how to use the app and indirectly influencing them on their purchases. TikTok hopes their fashion event will be no different, and older generations will embrace the future of fashion technology and all it has to offer.

Apple Store

What Tech Experts Are Expecting From Apple’s Upcoming Announced Fall Event

The tech giant officially announced this week that they would be hosting a major event on September 15th, however, they have yet to reveal any details as to what consumers can expect to be revealed.

Google To Put Voice Assistance Technology In Hotels To Promote Contact-Free Luxury

After six months in quarantine, many are trying to figure out new ways to itch their travel bugs in a safe and easy manner. Many hotel chains across the country have implemented dozens of new health and safety procedures to ensure all guests and employees feel comfortable when staying at their establishments. 

Google has recently announced that they want to take the hotel experience to the next level while we continue to battle this pandemic. The goal is simple; allow travelers to still feel a sense of luxury and relaxation while vacationing during a time that requires us to stay indoors and isolated at all times. To accomplish this, Google has teamed up with some hotels in both the United States and United Kingdom to launch their new hospitality solution technology, which will allow hotel-goers to enjoy a more hands-free experience when relaxing in their rooms. 

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The hotels that have decided to partner with Google will provide a Google Nest Hub in each room. The Google Nest Hub’s are a part of Google’s line of smart home technology, meant to make life all around easier and hands-free. 

The hub’s in the room can be easily used to request basic hotel services, confirm local restaurant and shop hours, make reservations at said restaurants, get weather reports, information on local tourist attractions/things to do, or even control the lights and heating in the rooms. All of that can be done with a simple “hey google” voice command. 

Guests can also use the hub to make their hotel stay as specific as they wish. This means they can request the hub to schedule a wake up call, ask for extra towels, more water or ice, etc. Some hotels will also set up Google Assistant within the room so that guests can check out using the hub, avoiding even more person-to-person interaction.

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The hub is also meant to be used as the main entertainment center for the room. Guests can easily access and control the YouTube app to find breaking news, music, videos, etc., they can even connect their phones via Bluetooth to play their own music. 

Google has ensured that all hubs don’t have any cameras, and customer identities will remain fully protected with the new technology, the same way it would be protected in a traditional hotel experience. The hub requires no sort of account sign in to work, and the microphone can be physically turned off for customers who don’t want to use the assistant at all. Google also released an official statement claiming that no audio would ever be recorded or stored from the hubs. 

As of right now, only a handful of hotels in both the US and UK have begun implementing this technology, but Google claims that they will be announcing more partnerships in the future. Current participating hotels include the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz., Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort in Calistoga, Calif., Gale and Shelborne South Beach in Miami, Fla., Hotel  Zena and Viceroy D.C. in Washington, D.C., Village Hotels in the U.K., and Gansevoort Meatpacking and Synergy Chelsea in New York City.

iPhone 11 Pro

Apple To Potentially Discontinue iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro After iPhone 12 Release

The iPhone 12 is currently projected to be released in October of this year. As the Keynote event gets closer and closer, many tech experts and blogs are placing their final bets for what’s to come with Apple’s newest smartphone upgrade. One of the most circulated rumors currently is reporting that Apple will discontinue the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone XR model once the 12 is finally released. 

The initial reports come from Twitter user @iAppleTimes, who’s been one of the most credible sources of information on all things Apple in the past. Recently, the user tweeted that the two iPhone models would be discontinued with iPhone 12’s launch and iPhone 11 deals would get a $150 price reduction.

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Price reduction on older generation iPhone models occurs annually with the drop of every new iPhone, typically followed by the discontinuing of whatever the oldest model is that year; last year it was the iPhone 7 Plus and everything before. So the discontinuing of two of Apple’s most recent models is quite surprising. 

It’s important to remember that even when this information comes from the most credible blog sources, we must take them with a grain of salt. While dropping these models may be surprising, it’s a newer trend that Apple’s seemed to follow. Every year they drop multiple versions of the same upgraded device, and ween out which models are most successful to continue selling. 

Last year when the iPhone 11 was launched, Apple also silently discontinued selling the iPhone XS and XS Max; this is also a part of the company’s efforts to only have a few smartphone options available at once. Since Apple also launched the iPhone SE earlier in 2020, it makes sense that they would want to discontinue newer models to keep up with the upgrades. 

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So the real question is what you should do if you’re currently in the market for a new iPhone, but don’t know if you should wait for the 12, the price-reduced 11 deals, or just go for it and pay for a new one now. If you were specifically looking to get the iPhone 11 Pro of iPhone XR, remember, this discontinuation is still simply a rumor based on Apple’s trends in the last few years, however, you may want to think about picking one up soon, just in case. 

If Apple does decide to discontinue both models, however, they won’t just pull them from the shelves without warning, and you’ll still be able to buy them online from third-party sellers. Establishments like Best Buy, or cell-service retail locations will likely have an overstock in the discontinued models that they’ll sell at a reduced price. 

Once Apple does finally launch the iPhone 12, it’s likely that all previous generation models will reduce in price as well. Third-party retailers typically also follow in these footsteps, so if you’re serious about getting a new phone as quickly as possible, try to hold out until the fall. 

Covid-19 has made it difficult for Apple to follow their usual launch schedule, hence the fall keynote presentation being delayed a month; it typically takes place in the beginning of September with the launch of the new iPhone models two weeks later. 

Twitter on Phone

Twitter Chief Executive, Jack Dorsey, Raises Concerns Among Employees After Month Of Crisis

Jack Dorsey is the part-time chief executive of Twitter, a position he’s held for many years now. After years of acquiring what’s referred to as “technical debt,” Twitter has been left extremely vulnerable on the back-end.