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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.

Siri now being used to control thermostat, start car, etc.


It will be interesting to see how Apple responds to this one. Developers have figured out how to intercept Siri commands, and are now using Siri to do things like control a thermostat and start a car remotely. As I understand it, the hack entails directing Siri voice commands to a proxy server, which then uses those commands to control various devices, or even apps. The videos below show this in action.

Details of Apple's Black Friday discounts on iPad, iPod touch


9T05Mac has posted details of Apple's Black Friday discounts. The site says that you can expect to see $41-61 off iPads, depending on the configuration, and $21-41 off iPods. Not a big discount but certainly welcome, especially if you're in the market for one. The post also gives details on discounts for Apple accessories and Macintoshes. And it posts a scan of the original pamphlet that the details are taken from.

Apple TV may be coming in mid-2012


Rumors of an Apple TV continue to mount, with a market analyst now saying that we can expect it in mid-2012. According to a report on AppleInsider, Apple may be partnering with Sharp to produce its "iTV." Production could begin as early as February. Of course, Apple is already selling an Apple TV box, but this new gadget is expected to be a full-fledged TV.

Great demo of new version of Google Search for iPad

Yesterday Google released a new version of Google Search for the iPad that's pretty remarkable. And showing how eager they are to be on every iPad, they've produced a great demo video. You can read more about the app on the Google Mobile Blog. The new version is more interactive, and the slide-in pane is really cool — just excellent design. The voice recognition isn't quite on the level of Siri, but it works quite well.

Apple announces Black Friday sale; Also, 6 best Black Friday apps


Black Friday — the Friday after Thanksgiving — is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year, with retailers offering extrraordinary price reductions to help fuel holiday spending. Apple has posted a teaser on their website inviting shoppers to stop by for a one-day sale on Friday. The teaser reads: "Mark your calendar now, and come back to the Apple Online Store the day after Thanksgiving for the special one-day event. You’ll discover amazing iPad, iPod, and Mac gifts for everyone on your list." Odd that it doesn't mention the iPhone.

iPad to continue dominance in 2012


So, Amazon's new $200 tablet, the Kindle Fire, is out, and reviews are mixed, mostly saying that it's a great low-end machine but no comparison to the iPad. And consumers agree. A survey reported by AppleInsider found that of over 3,000 potential tablet buyers who participated, 65% said they were planning to buy an iPad, 22% the Amazon Kindle, and 4% the Samsung Galaxy Tab. None of the other tablets registered more than 1% in the poll.

Rumor: iPhone 5 with 4-inch screen coming next June


A post on iLounge says that their most reliable source for inside information is saying that the iPhone 5 will be coming next June and will have a 4-inch screen. You can read more on iPhone Savior. The post says that the new iteration will no longer have glass on the back, probably replacing it with aluminum. The larger screen will increase the length of the phone by 8mm.

Rumor: Assembly of new, higher resolution iPad to begin in January


DigiTimes is reporting that assembly of a new, higher-resolution iPad will begin in January. The specs include a thinner, lighter battery, a quad-core A6 processor, and a smaller dock connector. It's rumored that Apple was trying to include a retina display, which would have doubled the pixel density. But apparently there have been technical problems. So although a higher-resolution display is expected, it may not be a retina display.

Free Gmail app returns to App Store


A few weeks ago there was a lot of hoopla around the arrival of a new Gmail app (free). But it was quickly pulled from the App Store because of serious bugs. Now it's back, without the bugs. Gmail has a large base of users, and the arrival of a dedicated app is welcome. Reviews have been lukewarm, however, with the main criticism being that it doesn't support multiple email accounts.

Setting up your free iCloud account


I am really liking iCloud, especially the way my email, calendar, and contacts are always in sync between my computer and iPad. And I like the way it automatically pushes new email to my computer and iPad.

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