This should be the year of home automation, as Apple's HomeKit specification starts to take root, and CES had a number of products in that arena. The Ring Video Doorbell is a novel product that can replace a doorbell, using the existing wiring. It lets you see who is at the door and communicate with them thanks to a microphone and speaker, all via the free companion app running on an iOS device. This means you can be thousands of miles away and see when a visitor, delivery person, or intruder approaches your door. It's a great idea and at $199, it's reasonably priced. The Ring can also be operated by battery, so you can add a video doorbell to a gate or just about anywhere, as long as it's within range of your home's Wi-Fi.
The Digital Harbor Foundation wants to give you a 3D printer. Thanks to their new Perpetual Innovation Fund, they have set aside funds to give 3D printers to worthy schools and teachers who can make a case for it. In addition to 3D printing, the foundation teachers technical skills like electronics, and web and app programming in their after-school and camp classes.
Analysts are generally expecting Apple to have had a monster quarter for the three months that ended Dec. 31. And they've estimated that Apple will have sold a record 65 to 69 million iPhones in the quarter. That compares to Apple's previous record of 51 million in the December quarter a year earlier. We'll get all the details on Tuesday when Apple announces their results for the quarter after the market closes. Not only are iPhone projections stellar, sales of the Macintosh are also expected to have been high. The big question is the iPad. For three straight quarters, sales have dropped compared to the same quarter a year earlier. Apple always follows their announced results with a conference call with investors. And in an unusual move, the call this time will be webcast. The event will begin at 5 p.m., EST.
I'm a big fan of the MacTech Conferences, and iPhone Life Magazine is a media sponsor. The events bring together some of the brightest independent minds in the Mac and iOS universe, both as speakers and attendees. The once-a-year event in California has so many topics and speaker sessions worth attending that I wish I could clone myself to attend them all! An easier solution might be to attend a local MacTech Pro event. It costs less, especially if you live near one of the nine locations and is a single-track, hotel-based seminar, specifically geared to serve the needs of professional consultants, IT Pros and techs who support others on OS X and iOS. The first MacTech Pro will take place on March 4, 2015 in Seattle.
The iPad introduced a new way to interface with our computers. Before tablets, our computers could rest on a desk, table, or lap. As iPads became thinner and thinner, they still put a strain on your hands when held for prolonged periods. This has caused an array of accessory makers to develop innovate stands for tablets and smartphones. This year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, there were several notable stands on display.
The Apple Watch is Apple's next big (or little) thing and new details are starting to leak out. According to 9to5mac, the battery life could be as low as 2.5 to 4 hours for active application use and up to 19 hours of combined active and passive use. Standby mode could last for two to three days, but it's hard to expect early adopters will shell out $349 to $1000 to leave their watch in standby mode. To make the battery last longer, don't expect it to constantly display the time. Like many Android devices, it will blank the screen to save power and turn on when the sensors detect you're glancing at your watch.
Game Centered features roundups and in-depth reviews of the best in iOS games and related gaming news. Among the App Store’s myriad games, it’s all too easy to overlook some of the greats. Each installment of Game Centered will take a close look at a select few worthy of special recognition, and we have a lot to cover in this, the first installment of Game Centered in 2015! After a brief period of relative quiet on the iOS game front, things are picking up, with 2015 widely expected to be the year that mobile games overtake console games for revenue generated, and many big name titles coming down the pipeline. Read on after the break for some of the latest and greatest iOS-related gaming news and info.
FaceTime is great, I love the app and use it often. However, as I've aged, and technology has advanced, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon whenever I FaceTime with anyone who is around my age or older. If you are over 30, read on after the break; this one's for you...
It's been several years since Apple updated the Apple TV, and we keep hearing rumors that a new box is imminent. The rumors have been wrong. Some people are getting impatient and are jailbreaking the second-generation Apple TV in order to add functionality they had hoped that Apple would make available. In fact, the second-generation Apple TV is so superior when jailbroken that it's selling for between $150–$200 on eBay — which is more than the $99 price of a new third-generation Apple TV (which can't be jailbroken).
I remember interviewing Oculus co-founder and VP, Nate Mitchell at CES 2013, back when his company was barely more than a humble crowd-funded campaign demoing a chunky, duct-taped box that strapped precariously on to your head. We talked optimistically about the future of virtual reality (VR), agreeing that the potential was great, even though consumer interest in this fledgling platform hadn't had a chance to gather much steam. Fast forward three years and Oculus is now a division of the Facebook empire, and we have Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighing in on the impact that this emerging technology will have on the world.
It's a sad day, as a longtime (since 1984) Mac user. We lost MacWorld magazine last year (and the MacWorld tradeshow) and now MacUser has logged off for the last time. In fact, www.MacUser.com redirects to www.MacWorld.com, which is still around as an online publication. Both magazines were helpful when I, along with the rest of the PC counterculture rebelled to make sure "1984 won't be like 1984!" It was a great way to keep in touch with Apple news and learn about programs and accessories. I also looked forward to the different editorials and columns from like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) writers.
It's not a surprise that Samsung might be copying another feature from the Apple iPhone, especially since that feature, Touch ID, is over a year old. Samsung has already had a fingerprint reader, but it was the old fashioned kind that required the user to swipe their finger at just the right speed and angle to be recognized.
Every year, Apple updates their "A" series of chips that power the iPhone and iPad, prompting speculation that such a chip might find its way into the Mac product line. There are a lot of compelling reasons why that could happen, but there are usually more compelling reasons against it. Which is probably why it hasn't happened yet. However, the buzz is growing around an A-series chip in Apple's next low-end MacBook Air. Apple could control their destiny, using their own chip instead of relying on (and paying) Intel.
A Chinese-language publication in Taiwan with sources in Apple's supply chain has reported that Apple will up the amount of RAM in the next iPhone to 2 GB. But even more important, it will be next-generation LPDDR4-based RAM. According to an article on Forbes, this type of RAM is twice as fast as the RAM in the current iPhone.
There's not much to go on, and not many blogs have picked this up. Yet I pass it along, given that I'd love to think that Apple may be offering a special event soon. According to Tgaap, Apple may be holding a special event on February 24. They aren't clear on the date, though, nor on what will be announced. But their "research" suggests that Tim Cook will revisit the Apple Watch and may introduce yet new features. Plus, at that time he would announce the availability dates and pricing for all the various models. According to Tgaap, Apple itself hasn't yet settled on a specific date when the Apple Watch will be available. Which makes sense, given that it often depends on how smoothly mass production goes. And production has only recently begun. The post also says something unknown will be announced, possibly Apple Watch-related. In addition, Tgaap says Apple will announce a new entry-level MacBook Pro with retina display.
On Wednesday Google released a new version of Google Translate (free) in the App Store that has some great new features. Most importantly, it now includes Word Lens: you can point your camera at some text in a foreign language, and the translated text will instantly overlay the image on your screen. You don't even need an Internet connection. According to the announcement on the Official Google Blog, the translation works between English and French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish, with more languages to be added.
I promise this will be my final CES post up—not they we ever want CES to end, but it does tend to clog up our main pages with "CES-this" and "CES-that" and after a week, it's time to move on. I will attempt to mention a few of the vendors we might have missed in our main show coverage, and possibly a few other cool non-iPhonethings as well. Just dive in, as it will mostly be pictures, with a quick blurb explaining each item (and maybe a vendor link if I felt like it or grabbed a press kit). If I missed your product at the show, I apologize. At CES, there are too many things to see, and not enough time to write (see all of our show coverage here)..
Now that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are out, and now that we're in a new year, it's time for the next stage of the rumor cycle: leaked tidbits about the forthcoming iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. According to AppleInsider, which cites a Taiwanese website, sources in Apple's supply chain have said that Apple is considering a dual-lens camera for the new phone — which would make it possible to have an optical zoom feature. It would also improve performance in low-light situations. Already the iPhone camera is excellent, with the iPhone 6 Plus featuring phase-detection autofocus and optical image stabilization. A dual-lens camera would certainly take it up a notch and put the iPhone even farther ahead of competitors.
It's hardly shocking when Samsung copies features from Apple (or when Apple copies Samsung and Android) but it is noteworthy that the recent revelations from Samsung, at CES, indicate that their next Galaxy S6 smartphone borrows heavily from Apple's design choices. Specifically, Samsung's next phone should have a metal back, like Apple, which is a good thing. But Samsung may be copying some of the features even loyal Apple fans don't appreciate. The next Samsung phone will have a non-removable battery and non-expandable memory. Instead of leveraging their advantage over Apple, with removable batteries and expandable microSD storage, Samsung is eliminating that distinction.