Rumors were swirling on Friday that a new Apple TV device was imminent. The reason for the rumors? Apple began offering a $25 iTunes Store gift card with the purchase of each Apple TV. Analysts and enthusiasts concluded that Apple was clearing out inventory to make room for a new device, especially as it's been over two years since Apple has released a new version of the hardware. And then Jim Darlymple dashed all hopes with a single word: "Nope." He apparently has contacts inside Apple, because he's always been right when he says there's no truth to a rumor. So while the gift card offer may not herald a new device, it's an appealing offer in its own right.
It doesn't seem like too long ago that if you wanted a truly rugged and heavy-duty carryall, your options consisted primarily of military or camping gear. But with the rise in popularity of fashion-forward outdoor suppliers like REI, North Face, and Mountain Hardware, consumers have become rather accustomed to durable and rugged gear-bags that are also stylish and don't necessarily make people look like they’re going camping or off to war. Entering the fray of high-quality, rugged bags is booq, with their water-resistant, tear-resistant, and ultra-durable booq Boa Nerve messenger bag ($155.00).
More and more people are using their iPhones for photography—as the sole camera in their life or in conjunction with a professional camera. With the current products out on the market right now, I don't blame them! Here are some of the best new photography gadgets on the market:
“Hi there," began the e-mail. Even for a devoted Apple fan, this moment was still exciting—an e-mail for Google Glass. I, Jake Underwood, high school senior, had been included in the chosen group. I had been offered a chance to buy Google Glass for $1500 plus tax. Can I borrow some cash?
StreetInsider.com reported Wednesday that a securities analyst who has contacts in Apple's supply chain says production of the iPhone 6 appears to be ramping up earlier than one would expect for a September launch, meaning that it could appear as early as July. It seems doubtful, and the bulk of the recent rumors have been suggesting September. On the other hand, analysts have been saying Apple needs to come out with a larger iPhone ASAP in order to stay competitive in a market that's rapidly moving toward larger devices. So perhaps Apple has indeed decided to try to speed things up. The analyst also says that his checks confirm that Apple's next generation of phones will have larger displays. His supply chain checks also indicate that Apple appears to be gearing up for a launch of an Apple TV set-top device and an iWatch, both no earlier than the second half of 2014.
The current Apple TV device turns two years old in March, and throughout those years, speculation about the development of a more robust Apple TV has been ongoing. The latest educated guesses predict a new Apple TV with Time Warner support by April, as detailed by my colleague Jim Karpen on February 13. Presumably, that box will replace your existing cable DVR box while making it easier to access content from iTunes and other Internet channels like Netflix. If anyone can make the cable guide more appealing, it's Apple. It would be ironic if the next iteration of Apple TV were to actually embrace cable and be sold or rented directly from your cable company, when so many people look to devices like the Apple TV or Roku to "cut the cord" and eliminate their cable bill altogether.
The torrent of evidence for new products with a focus on health and fitness is astonishing, including a wide range of top experts Apple has hired. According to AppleInsider, a report last week in China's Electrical Engineering Times said that Apple is considering using optoelectronics in their rumored iWatch to monitor pulse and blood oxygen levels. This technology measures the changes in light reflected by the body. Light from small LEDs is projected onto one's finger, for example, and then the sensors measure the amount and color of the light reflected. From this it can determine how fast your heart is beating and how much oxygen saturation there is in your blood. Adding to the credibility of this report is the fact that Apple has hired experts in this area in recent weeks. Whether this technology is slated for an iWatch or other wearable device is unclear, but it appears likely that Apple is developing a product that will use it.
Recently at CES I met with the folks at Parrot and among all of their flying drones and hopping and spinning robots, one of the things that stood out most for me at their display area was the elegant, stylish, and technologically advanced Zik Over-Ear Bluetooth headphones ($399.95).
I'll admit, I'm somewhat of a headphone snob; and it can take a lot to impress me, especially when it comes to Bluetooth personal listening accessories. I review a lot of great headphones for iPhone Life, and one of the side-effects to that is the fact that a pair of headphones has to be quite exceptional to get really high marks from me. Well, the Zik not only impressed me, they totally blew my mind and exceeded any expectations I may have had.
Major League Baseball announced on Friday that installation of iBeacon transmitters in two stadiums has now been completed as part of a project to install the technology in over 20 ballparks by the start of the season in late March. Some 65 iBeacon transmitters were installed in Dodger Stadium and Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. So what will it do for you? You'll need to load the MLB.com At the Ballpark app (free) on your iPhone or iPad, and then as you approach specific locations within the park, you'll receive messages on your device. Typically you'll receive offers for discounts at nearby concessions. Also, some parks are planning to use the technology to help guide you to your seat. And some will likely use it to offer information about points of interest within the ballpark. For example, a demo of the technology last fall at Citi Field, home of the Mets, used iBeacon to offer fans digital coupons as they entered the team's store. The demo also brought up an informational video when walking near the giant Apple in the stadium. Different parks will use it for different purposes.
I was recently given a BOOMBOTIX REX ($119.99-$129.99) trial unit to experiment with. I warned the folks at BOOMBOTIX that I was going to be rough on it, but I honestly had no idea just how roughly that little speaker was going to be treated. You see, when it arrived, my infant son instantly appropriated it as his own—he LOVED the silky smooth, grippy texture the speaker had, and he also completely dug the cool geometric shape of the thing. It was light enough and small enough that his little baby hands could hold it and turn it over and over, while I tried to keep him from gnawing on it with his new front teeth. Read on to find out just how the REX fared under the baby torture test...
In a previous post, I reported on the story from Bloomberg that Apple was closing in on a deal with Time Warner and was hoping to introduce a new Apple TV device by April. That's starting to look unlikely. An article in the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that one source familiar with Apple's plans said Apple hopes to release a new device by June, and another said it may not be ready until several months after that. The WSJ article also helps to clarify the earlier reports of Apple's possible deal with Time Warner. The question was whether Apple was still trying to make a deal that would allow it to offer its own cable channels or if it's simply hoping to offer the cable companies a better set-top box. Apple had earlier wanted to offer full seasons of TV shows along with live programming. However, the article says Apple has given up on that idea, given the resistance of the cable providers. Most recently Apple is asking just for the five most recent episodes of TV shows. It's also possible, the article says, that Apple would simply sell the new Apple TV devices to the cable companies, who would then rent them as set-top boxes to subscribers, rather than Apple selling the device directly to consumers.
I've written about uNu before, as I've been using their battery cases for my older iPhone 4. Now that I have an iPhone 5s, I still need that extra juice throughout the day, especially when I'm traveling. Fortunately, they have a version for the Lightning-based iPhone 5, but their AERO model ($99.95) goes even further. In addition to providing extra power and letting you charge the case by microUSB, you can charge the case wirelessly!
Pure is an audio speaker division under Imagination Technology, the wizards of low-power, high-performance SoC technology including PowerVR—the graphics capability we enjoy in our iOS devices. It might seem surprising that their tech portfolio includes a line of wireless speakers until you consider the low-power, performance, and portability of the Jongo lineup. Pure has wireless streaming speaker products ranging in the 20–100W range of output, all of which are attractively styled and innovative inside and out. The Jongo S3 ($229) is the 20W "little speaker" of the family that can be paired up with partner speakers of the same ilk. Don't let their size fool you, these scrappy little speakers produce quality sound at almost any volume!
We’re pretty big fans of SMS headphones here at iPhone Life. My colleagues and I have all written favorably about these headphones in the past, and you can read our various reviews by clicking HERE, HERE and HERE. These premium quality cans are very deserving of their “Studio Mastered Sound” name; they not only sound phenomenal, they rival some of the best studio headphones on the market. And as if that weren't enough, they are extremely durable and well-constructed so as to last for many, many years. This time around I'll be focusing on SMS Sync On-Ear Bluetooth headphones ($229.95), and while they are undoubtedly excellent headphones, you'll have to read on to find out if they are really worth their price tag.
MobiHealthNews posted a number of iWatch scoops Monday based on sources with "limited but direct knowledge of Apple's plans...." They reported that Apple has over 200 employees working on the project. That suggests Apple is really serious about this new device, not just experimenting with prototypes.
Rumors continue to swirl regarding the Apple TV set-top box. One rumor is that Apple will be adding gaming and an App Store for the device sometime within the next six weeks. My hunch is that there's a good chance for this happening. In addition, there have been rumors that we'll see a new Apple TV device in the first half of this year. Now, according to a post on 9To5Mac, we have confirmation of a new device. Buried in iOS 7 is a reference to the forthcoming device, alongside references to the already-available versions. It's referenced as AppleTV4,1, with the previous iteration being AppleTV 3,2. The post says that the jump in increment to 4 suggests that the box will be a major upgrade rather than a minor update. 9To5Mac also notes that the previous Apple TV was introduced in March 2012, so it would make sense that March would be the month for the announcement for a new generation of the device.
If and when Apple ever decides to incorporate a wireless charging solution in future iDevices, it will be a killer feature for sure. But until then, it's up to third-party accessory manufacturers to step up to the plate. One system that I've had the pleasure to use is the iPort Charge Case and Stand for iPad mini with Retina display ($99.95).
What is Apple up to? The evidence just keeps mounting for a major focus on health and fitness. Today Apple posted a job listing seeking exercise physiologists. We already know they've hired a number of top people with expertise in areas such as medical sensors and health-monitoring equipment. The people being recruited by today's ad, which has now been taken down, would be asked to "design and run user studies related to cardiovascular fitness & energy expenditure, including calories burned, metabolic rate, aerobic fitness level measurement/tracking and other key physiological measurements…" The website 9To5Mac has posted a screen shot of the ad. Qualifications for the positions include experience with health-monitoring equipment, measuring calorie expenditure, key fitness indicators, and exercise testing. 9To5Mac says the ad suggests that Apple is moving into the development phase, which will entail product testing.
Portability is becoming an increasingly important factor for consumer electronics these days. With smartphones, laptops, and tablets getting thinner every year, the trend is spreading to other entertainment devices as well. Enter the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 2000 ($899), a 3LCD 1080p projector capable of both 2D and 3D video playback.
With the growing popularity of mobile devices like iPhones and iPads, there has been a flood of high quality wireless Bluetooth audio gear addressing the limitations of iOS hardware built-in speakers. Not to be left out of this expanding market, Creative Labs has improved on their initial wireless speaker design with the release of their Sound BlasterAxx Axx200 sound system. How does it stack up against similarly priced competitors? Read on to find out.
Want more? Get our weekly newsletter: