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The most important news from Apple's iPad event

Like a cool dad who just can’t help but show off all his cool new gizmos, Apple is back one month after unveiling it’s big new iPhones and super fancy watches in order to show a little love to the other things it makes. If today’s event seemed a little less buzzy to you, it’s probably because it was more of a mixed bag of an event with a number of announcements in several categories, as opposed to the crowd-pleasing Cracker Jack of an iPhone event with the attention-grabbing “surprise” of the Apple Watch at the bottom.

That doesn’t mean interesting things didn’t happen. Here’s what we learned about today:

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Another Apple event will soon be upon us (and it's probably about iPads)

Now that the dust has settled from the iPhone 6 hoopla last month, it’s time for Apple to once more hold the tech world hostage for two hours while it shows off its newest rectangles of metal and glass. On Thursday, the company will hold an event at its Cupertino campus, one that you can watch live here at 10 a.m. PDT Thursday. In keeping with its playbook, the company has not said anything about what will occur at the event, but it is widely believed that Apple will update its line of iPads in time for the holiday season, and maybe its iMacs, too.

No real surprises are expected (in the tech world, you expect surprises, which is crazy disruptive)—although that doesn’t preclude any surprise musical guests. What’s Tim Cook’s second favorite band? Coldplay?

For more details on what you can expect, watch the video below.

Amazon's new tablet reveals are probably no coincidence

On Wednesday, Amazon revealed a number of new tablets and eReaders aimed at every corner of the market. Starting with its $80 revamped Kindle and going all the way up to the $379 Fire HDX 8.9, there’s something for everyone. And hopefully, everyone gets on board—before Apple announces its revamped iPads.

Industry buzz holds that Apple is keeping its tradition of holding an October event for showing off updated iPads, as well as the latest OS X release, Yosemite. Amazon’s newly announced devices are scheduled to ship in October.

Watch the video below for more:

The high-end version of Apple Watch might cost $5K

“Starting at” is a frustrating phrase in tech. It’s a coy way of talking about the way a gadget is going to be priced while also skirting around the subject of whether or not you’ll actually want said gadget at that price. The price a thing “starts at” is rarely optimal—to get the best or most efficient version of your preferred gizmo, you’ll often have to pay more.

When Apple Watch was revealed last week, Apple CEO Time Cook said that the smartwatch would be “starting at” $349—an already hefty price, given the competition. But Cook also announced three “collections” for Apple Watch: Sport, Edition, and vanilla—the differences being in the materials used to construct the watch. Which of these did Apple Watch “start at”? And how high in price would the other two go?

Pretty high, it turns out. READ FULL STORY

Cartoon avatar app goes big in China

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As anyone who’s ever had an AIM, GChat, or Twitter account knows, a cute avatar is key to a good online persona. In China, consumers have made that quest into a giant market.

Fortune reports that  MYOTee, a cartoon avatar creator with dozens of custom options, has become the hottest mobile app in the nation’s variable market. Earlier this month, the app received over a million downloads in just a couple of days – hitting the top of Apple’s free app ranking in China. READ FULL STORY

Fortune.com picks the 5 best fake Googles (and one Apple spoof) in pop culture

Beyond the search engine that made it what it is today, Google has become the epitome of big-branded tech companies. Of course, many TV shows and movies feature Google-like businesses without directly implying that it’s pretty much just Google with a different name. (That is, of course, except for The Internship, which somehow did get permission to use Google’s name and branding for their film.) Recent HBO shows like Silicon Valley and Veep, however, had to be a little more creative with their fictitious places of work.

The new Fortune.com came up with its own list of the best Google fake-outs in TV, books, and film, and even one special animated homage to Steve Jobs and Apple. Check out the full breakdown here and the list of picks below: READ FULL STORY

HBO's 'Silicon Valley': Fake company from the show has a great fake website

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Are you watching Silicon Valley, HBO’s pitch-perfect sendup of the tech world? (Well, pitch perfect besides its near total lack of female characters. Wait, what’s that you say? This is what Silicon Valley is actually like? Never mind!)

If you are, you’ll be pleased to note that Pied Piper — the fledgling startup at the center of the series — just got its own spiffy website. Hell, even if you don’t already watch the show, give this page a whirl; if incredible strings of technological gobbledygook (“Pied Piper is a multi-platform technology based on a proprietary universal compression algorithm that has consistently fielded high Weisman Scores™ that are not merely competitive, but approach the theoretical limit of lossless compression”) can’t convince you to check it out, nothing will.

Scroll around, and you’ll find awkward shots of the show’s cast, an “About Us” section that details fun facts about each of Pied Piper’s main players, and more than a few lines of text that prove just how much care was put into PiedPiper.com. (Wait, which real-life irrigation company did HBO have to pay off to get the rights to that domain name?) A brief sampling:

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CES 2014: Vanilla Ice, Shaq, Mark Cuban, and more talk hot tech trends -- VIDEO

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With more than 150,000 attendees and 3,000 exhibitors, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas proved to be one of the biggest in its history. Some of the biggest trends included 3-D printers, wearable tech, headphones galore, 4K, and curved TVs.

And while the Super Bowl of Tech boasts industry professionals, techies, and early adopters, the conference is also known for its fair share of celebs endorsing the next big brands and products in tech.

Billionaire entrepreneur and Shark Tank investor Mark Cuban made an appearance at the Samsung press conference and roamed the floor revealing what he thinks the next big thing in tech will be and how to really get his attention with an investment pitch:
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Twitter goes public, Sir Patrick Stewart rings NYSE bell

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So those tweets about what you had for dinner, that movie you hated, and how much you like pumpkin spice lattes are actually worth something!

Twitter went public this morning at the New York Stock Exchange, debuting at $45.10 a share, valuing the social media platform at upwards of $30 billion. Stock symbol? TWTR. Hashtag? #$$$$ READ FULL STORY

Bryan Cranston narrates new iPad Air commercial -- VIDEO

After watching the newly released iPad Air commercial, you may find yourself wondering why you feel so calm, so full of life, hopeful for the future — but also, with a slight edge of terror. Well, that’s because the crisp, clean TV spot is narrated by all-around wonderful human Bryan Cranston, who most famously also portrays all-around terrifying character Walter White from Breaking Bad.
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