I spend way too much money on electronics, which explains why I have achieved "Elite Plus" status at Best Buy. But today that's a good thing, as Elite customers get early access to Black Friday style deals, from the comfort of their own homes. The brand new iPad mini 3 can be picked up for $75 off, without waiting until Thanksgiving and worrying about stock and crowds. In addition to the deal on the iPad mini 2, a 40-inch TV can be purchased for $180
There's a security alert going around about "Masque" attacks, which poses a potential threat to iOS users but, according to Apple, has not resulted in any problems so far. Masque takes advantage of Apple's iOS Enterprise Developer program which bypasses the official App Store to let businesses install apps on their employees' iOS devices.
There has never been a better time for fans of smart watches and fitness bands. The Apple Watch validates the market, yet has enough shortcomings that it leaves room for competitors. I've worn a Pebble since they were available and I appreciate many of the features it offers, but it's getting a little long in the tooth. It doesn't offer any of the health sensors that are so popular these days.
Apple is scaling their product line, both bigger and smaller. Apple simultaneously introduced a bigger 4.7-inch iPhone and an even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus and the 1.5 to 1.65-inch Apple Watch. While that Apple Watch won't ship until early Spring, there have been rumors of a larger iPad, potentially dubbed the iPad Pro, with a 12.9-inch screen. Apple did indeed introduce new iPads a month after the iPhone and Apple Watch, but they kept the same screen sizes.
It's unlikely that Apple had much role in designing the new Beats headphones that were released today, given the product design lifecycle, but they are the first Beats products announced since Apple acquired the firm for $3 billion this summer. The Solo2 Wireless headphones operate via Bluetooth and offer 12 hours of battery life. A RemoteTalk cable can be used to turn the wireless headphones into wired ones, complete with an inline microphone. This is useful if the battery dies runs out, or for Airplane Mode use.
The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are only about a month old, yet you can snag some serious discounts this Black Friday, thanks to Best Buy and Target. If you don't want to join the crowds the day after Thanksgiving, or even Thanksgiving evening, you might be able to get the same deal using their websites.
The release of iOS 8 (and subsequent updates through iOS 8.1 so far) brought about the usual dilemma for owners of older iOS devices. Should they upgrade or stay at iOS 7 (and even iOS 6 in some cases) and only run iOS 8 on any newly acquired devices? Personally, I've chosen the latter, and running iOS 8 on my new iPhone 6, but running iOS 7 on my iPad Air. Today, that changed. It wasn't by choice, but rather necessity, as I had to do a Keynote presentation which had been created on my MacBook Pro running Mac OS Yosemite. That required upgrading the iPad Air to the latest version of Keynote for iOS, which also required iOS 8.
When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, with gold as one of the color choices, and the many colors of the iPhone 5c, many naysayers commented that when you resort to color choices to differentiate your product, you've lost. Still, demand for the gold model outstripped supply, and sales of the iPhone 5c, while not as popular as the iPhone 5s, would be the envy of most Android handset makers. So it's interesting to see what LG has announced to differentiate their latest Android phone.
Amazon may have stumbled with the Kindle Fire Phone, due to pricing missteps and other issues, but they're not done innovating and working on integrating their technology into our daily lives. Today, Amazon preannounced the Echo, an unassuming speaker that does a lot more than play music. The cylindrical device sits in your home and is always listening for verbal commands. Similar to Siri, you can ask Echo for weather reports, to play music, etc. The gadget has omni-directional speakers and microphones that can listen to commands even if they come from far away.
I get pitched a lot of Kickstarter projects for "the slimmest portable charger ever," but I'm hesitant to recommend Kickstarter projects that might never see the light of day. Fortunately, today at Stan Lee's Comikaze, I was able to try the Slimz by MobileJuice.com. This is a credit card size charger with a twist. Many such chargers offer a USB port and expect you to add a Lightning or microUSB cable. The Slimz includes a pull out microUSB cable and a tiny converter that turns the microUSB port into a Lightning port.