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Given its ubiquity in the smartphone world, it’s not surprising that the iPhone has become a kind of centralized remote control for a wide range of devices, from televisions and stereo systems to intelligent lightbulbs and thermostats — and Apple wants to expand on that through a new “Smart Home” program that is going to be launched at WWDC next week, according to a report in the Financial Times. The FT said that Apple will build remote-control and management features for a host of devices including security systems into the iOS platform through partnerships with specific manufacturers, and the company’s retail stores will be a core part of the strategy. The platform could use near-field communications or NFC as the method of control, the newspaper said, since support for the technology is expected to also be part of the company’s new iPhone models.

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photo: Apple

First appearing in several European Union regions, in March the lower-cost 8 GB model of Apple’s iPhone 5c is now available in India. The handset costs Rs 33,500 ($573.39 US) after a reported Rs 4,000  cash rebate from Apple according to The Times of India, and includes a free case. 9to5 Mac notes that the limited storage works out to a RS 6,300 savings compared to the base 16 GB model which costs RS 39,800 after rebate. With either model, Apple won’t likely find much of a foothold: There are dozens of lower costing alternatives running Google Android and Windows Phone software available.

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In Brief

If you switch from an iPhone to an Android or other phone, there’s a good chance that some text messages will go missing due to the way Apple handles its iMessage application. Some people have been able to fix the problem — here’s how I did it — but some former iPhone users, like former Lifehacker Adam Pash, are complaining there’s no solution in sight. Adrianne Moore, one of the aggrieved switchers, filed a class action lawsuit on Friday looking for both a fix and restitution from Apple. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Jose, California. If you’re interested in the case, most of the filing is available over at Patently Apple.

In Brief

OS X Mavericks logo

Nearly three months since the last update, Apple released OS X version 10.9.3 on Thursday. According to Apple’s own support page detailing the changes, the software provides a better 4K scaling experience on both the Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with 15-inch Retina Display computers. That’s assuming you own a 4K monitor, of course. There’s something for every Mac owner though including Safari 7.0.3 and the ability to sync both contacts and calendar events over a USB connection between your Mac and iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

In Brief

straight-talk-sim

Although Straight Talk has long advertised its mobile broadband service as “unlimited”, the company acknowledged in September that it only offered 2.5 GB per month. After hitting that limit, the provider slows down speeds on its $45 monthly plan. That speed bump is now good for 3 GB of speedy service, Straight Talk said on Wednesday. Straight Talk doesn’t have networks of its own but instead buys wholesale service from traditional carriers and resells it. Essentially, you get the same service and coverage provided by AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon, for example, at a discount on your iPhone, Android handset or other smartphone.

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