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ExtraBITS for 14 September 2015

In our latest ExtraBITS collection, Josh Centers discusses Apple’s announcements on the Tech Night Owl podcast, the New York Times examines the rise and fall of Mac user groups, and Apple battles the U.S. government over encryption.

Josh Centers Evaluates Apple’s New Offerings with The Tech Night Owl -- Josh Centers once again joined The Tech Night Owl podcast to discuss Apple’s latest round of announcements. Josh explains why the fall event wasn’t a bore, why Apple is not a church, and why the debate over whether the iPad is a consumption or creation device was stupid. He also offers some advice for those considering an iPad Pro, and of course, delves into the new Apple TV.

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The Rise and Fall of Mac User Groups -- We love and have long supported Mac user groups, but this New York Times article does a good job of describing the fading state of many MUGs. Despite (or perhaps in part due to) the vastly larger size of the Apple user base, most groups are suffering falling attendance, though they still succeed at meeting the needs of their aging members. In a statement, Apple told the Times that the company was “honored to have the support of loyal customers like the members of Mac user groups, many of whom have been part of the Apple community for decades.”

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Feds Battle Tech Companies Over Encryption -- Paranoid iMessage users, take heart: Apple refused a court order to hand over real-time iMessage conversations to the Justice Department. The reason? Because not even Apple could decrypt them, so the company could not comply. However, Apple did hand over some messages stored in iCloud. Meanwhile, Microsoft is battling the Justice Department in court in a case that could determine just how much data tech companies are required to provide to law enforcement.

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