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Did you hear? iOS 8 is ripe for the picking, and lucky for you, we've already taken it for a test drive. Read on for Engadget's news highlights from the last 24 hours, including our iPhone 6 and 6 Plus review, everything you need to know about virtual payments, and more!


Apple Untaxed Profits

Whatever you think of Apple's commitment to its user's security as of say... two weeks ago, CEO Tim Cook seems to be following up on his promise to bring more clarity to the company's efforts. Tonight he posted a letter to Apple customers on the company's website, launching a new section focused solely on "Apple's commitment to your privacy." There you'll find information information on how to use tools like two-factor authentication, recognize security threats and info on picking a strong password. Also included is the publicly available data on government requests and a little chest thumping on what Apple says it does to protect users that other companies (they mean Google) might not.

[Image credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite]

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True or False: You don't go on Facebook anymore, because it's such a drag not being able to talk about your private jet's new upholstery. After all, a few of your old friends post regularly about student loan and (gasp) mortgage payments, and it'll make you look like an insensitive prick.

If you answered True, this new social network called Netropolitan hopes you'll be willing to pony up a whopping $9,000 up front to rub virtual elbows with the equally rich. Netropolitan's website describes it as "an online country club for people with more money than time" and is open to anyone over 21 with cash to throw around. There's no need to add friends, since you can see everyone else's post once you get it, but you can form groups around common interests (which, by the way, you can also do on Facebook for free).

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Here's the funny thing about Amazon: Because it's already selling you stuff, it has an easy way of knowing when a product category is starting to take off. Case in point: budget tablets. After reading lots of user reviews complaining about cheap, unreliable slates, the company had two major takeaways. One, people actually buy this crap and two, maybe Amazon can do better. That brings us to today's news: The outfit just introduced a 6-inch, $99 tablet, its least expensive yet. In addition, the company refreshed its $139 Kindle Fire HD 7 along with so-called Kids Edition models, which are basically the same 6- and 7-inch tablets, just with a two-year warranty and some robust parental controls. All of them start at under $200.

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Amazon Kindle Voyage

Perhaps Amazon sold a lot of 3G Paperwhites without special offers. Or maybe Kobo's Aura HD has quietly taken the world by storm and Jeff Bezos decided he needed an answer. Whatever the impetus, Amazon has decided there is room in the world for a $199 e-reader. The Kindle Voyage was built for people who "love to read." Clearly the company thinks there is a place out there for a premium e-reader and, while we can't vouch for the vibrancy of the high-end e-reader market, we can confirm that Amazon has put together a stunner of a device. The familiar Kindle software has even picked up some neat new software tricks that the Voyage taught its more budget-minded siblings.

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Amazon gives its flagship Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 a modest spec boost

If you've ever seen a TV commercial for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablets, you know the company isn't shy about comparing itself to Apple. Indeed, the retail giant is hoping you'll buy its flagship Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 this holiday season instead of a boring iPad Air. This year, though, Amazon appears to be competing purely on specs: The company just refreshed the HDX 8.9, and while it has the same design as last year's model (20 percent lighter than the iPad, as Amazon is quick to point out!), everything under the hood is just a bit better. A bit faster. The tablet is up for pre-order today for $379, the same price as last year's HDX 8.9. Which makes sense: All things considered, this is a fairly modest upgrade.

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Hailing a ride has never been easier -- just take out your phone, tap on an app and wait for your internet-wrangled chauffeur to arrive. Companies like Uber and Lyft are reinventing the transportation industry, and traditional taxi services are feeling it. According to Kate Toran, interim Taxis and Accessible Services director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the average taxi is only making about 504 trips per month. Two years ago (specifically, in March of 2012) the average trip per taxi averaged at 1,424.

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Anita Sarkeesian

A bomb threat was made regarding a speaker and award recipient at the Game Developer's Choice Awards (part of the annual Game Developer's Conference) in San Francisco this past March. Anita Sarkeesian (pictured above), host of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, a YouTube series that naturally examines the way women are depicted in video games, was the intended target. As Kotaku reports, an anonymous email was sent to around 25 of GDC's organizers stating the following:

"A bomb will be detonated at the Game Developer's Choice award ceremony tonight unless Anita Sarkeesian's Ambassador Award is revoked. We estimate the bomb will kill at least a dozen people and injure dozens more. It would be in your best interest to accept our simple request. This is not a joke. You have been warned."

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Well folks, the rumors and leaks were true (as usual): the heated BlackBerry/Porsche Design love affair has once again borne fruit, this in time in the form of the new Porsche Design P'9983. At its core, we're looking at a device running BlackBerry 10.3 along with a few Porsche-produced bits like a custom wallpaper and watchface, but you're not going to buy this thing just for BBMing your dearest pals (did we mention you get a specific BBM PIN perfect for remote flaunting?). No, if anything, you'd buy this thing for its peculiar (some would say silly and overwrought) sense of style.

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