| Walmart to launch iPhone 5s, 5c Christmas sales
Los Angeles Times is reporting Walmart will be offering good discounts on Apple's newest iPhones. Starting Friday the retailer is expected to sell the iPhone 5s for $127 and the iPhone 5c for $27. This compares to base model prices of $99 and $199.
The deal requires a two-year contract.
Walmart will also sell the standard iPad mini for $299 with a $50 gift card. Also the report indicates iTunes cards will be on sale for the holidays with $30 cards going for $25.
Sales will begin this Friday morning and run until December 24.
Apple TV adds additional content from ABC, others
Apple has pushed new content apps to its Apple TV setup box. Users can now view content via Watch ABC, Crackle, Bloomberg, and KORTV out of Korea.
This is the first I've heard of Crackle, but it's a streaming video product run by Sony Pictures. It looks similar to Netflix with original content and content partners. It features TV and Movies from Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures. MGM, Lionsgate, and others.
The content joins other recent additions to Apple TV from HBO, ESPN, PBS and others.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas launches for iOS
This week Rock Star launched GTA: San Andreas for iPhone and iPad. The app sells for $9.99.
Five years ago, Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos, San Andreas, a city tearing itself apart with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where filmstars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers.
Now, it’s the early 90’s. Carl’s got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster.
On his return to the neighborhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.
Originally released in 2004 was another huge hit in the GTA franchise. Lots of fun with a then not so distance 90's theme. The iOS version features new controls for touch screen. Also new will be iOS controller support in iOS 7.
Angry Birds Go launches
Welcome to downhill racing on Piggy Island! Feel the rush as you fling those freewheeling birds and piggies down the track at breakneck speed – with plenty of twists and turns in a thrilling race to the finish line! But beware! Look out for hazardous roads, mischievous opponents riding your tail and special powers to put the race leader behind the pack. Plus, go from soapbox car to supercar by upgrading your ride! Ready…Set…Angry Birds Go!
Seems like best comparison is Mario Cart w/ Angry Bird. Available now for iPhone and iPad for free with in-app upgrades.
Straight Talk launches iPhone 5s, 5c sans contracts
Straight Talk announced it will be launching the iPhone 5s and 5c this week. The pre-paid carrier will bring online both of Apple's latest phones on December 13th. Off contract phones involve paying the full unsubsidized phone price and in turn receiving lower cost monthly service. The company has deals with mobile carriers and largely customers use the same towers as if they were on said carriers. Last I checked iPhones run on AT&T's towers for Straight Talk.
It's a pretty good way to save some money if you plan to keep a phone longer than 18-24 months. One catch, however, is there's no roaming available. Typically AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon have contract with small incumbent carriers to provide service on their local towers. For those customers it works seamlessly, but my experience has been that arrangement doesn't extend to MVNO providers like Straight Talk. Also, LTE coverage may not match up. So, basically check those maps carefully.
Pricing for service is $45 per month for unlimited talk, text, and data. An international plan is available for $60/month. Service is prepaid and has no contract commitments. Unsubsidized phones start out at $649 for a 16 GB iPhone 5s and $549 for the 16 GB iPhone 5c.
Wired looks at Square's card reader redesign
Square's announced a new credit card reader is significantly smaller. The redesign was headed by former Apple employee who worked on the new slim Lighting connector. An in-depth article at Wired details the redesign not only for size, but user experience. Seems a lot of care when into making its function "satisfying" to use.
Vanhemert for Wired:
The Square Reader has one job: swiping credit cards. Any new version of the device, then, had to improve on that single, simple function. We might take a card swipe for granted, but getting every detail right takes extreme care. You have to make the swipe feel satisfying; you have to make it ready accurately enough that it works the first, every time. Those two factors help convey something in the moment about Square itself: That the company is trust worthy, rock solid, and easy.
Twitter for iOS gets update for DM photos
Twitter this week updated its native iOS app for some new features. Biggest perhaps is new support for sending photos in private direct messages. The update also supports some navigation improvements for DMs.
For the first time, you can share and view photos via direct message (DM) on your mobile phone. We’ve also introduced a new tab in the navigation bar that makes it easy to access DMs –– they’re just one tap away from wherever you are on Twitter. You can also view photos in DMs on twitter.com.
The update also brings some interface tweaks for switching between the app's Home and Discover timelines. Other improvements include notifications for new DMs, favorites, and retweets.
Real world use of iBeacon in Apple stores
Joel Mathis for Macworld writes about iBeacons in Apple's retail stores
it became clear that many users will have to actively desire iBeacons notifications to use them—enabling the the system requires you to jump through a series of hoops in the phone’s settings.
When you download the Apple Store app, you’ll want to make sure that push notifications and location services are enabled, both for the app and for iOS as a whole. Then you’ll want to go to the phone’s General settings and make sure the “Background App Refresh” is on for the Apple Store app.
When you walk into the store, you’ll want to make sure your phone’s Wi-Fi is on—I turn the wifi off when I leave the house usually—and connect to the Apple Store’s in-store Wi-Fi network; you’ll also want to turn on the phone’s Bluetooth, because iBeacons rely on low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 technology to sense your proximity to the wares they want to sell you.
Interesting idea, but doesn't seem terribly practical here. The example in the article shows a photo of an Apple Store alert pitching an iPhone upgrade. Maybe when the feature find better applications than essentially location-aware spam it may gain some traction.
1Password for Mac 4.1 bring a number of improvements
I love 1Password and the Mac version got its first major update since 4.0 launched a couple months ago. One really cool feature is the ability to update passwords from the browser extension. This is nice since new passwords can sometimes be a pain to update and usually involve opening the app to ensure correct change over.
Checkout the blog entry for all changes and fixes.
WSJ blasts ant-trust judge and prosecutor
Wall Street Journal Editorial:
The "judicial duty" under the Constitution's Article III vests judges with the power to resolve "cases and controversies." Prosecutors enforce laws, conduct investigations and uncover evidence. Judges aren't supposed to appoint their own agents to annex such activities reserved for the executive branch. Mr. Bromwich has rewritten his job description to investigate Apple all over again, not simply monitor if Apple is abiding by the terms of the court judgment while it appeals the case.
BassJump Subwoofer gets update for Mavericks
Twelve South Thursday announced a software update for its desktop subwoofer. BaseJump Sound System 2.5 brings OS X 10.9 Mavericks support and Retina capabilities. Also added in a new feature that automatically detects connected headphones.
BassJump is a USB subwoofer that's designed to complement your Mac's built in speakers. The sub supplements the speakers by routing low frequency to the dedicated speaker. The BassJump is available for $69.99
Video: Shinola Premium Leather iPhone 5/5s case
Premium handmade leather wrapped iPhone case. For iPhone 5 and 5s. It's pretty awesome. $75
Honda announces further integration with iPhones
Recently Honda announced Siri Hands Free compatibility with select new models and this week the company announced additional initiatives Two new systems called Display Audio and HondaLink will integrate smartphones and cloud services with the car's built-in electronics.
The Display Audio system with next generation HondaLink allows the customer's digital lifestyle to seamlessly integrate with the car and provides access to a world of cloud-based information. The all-new application-based platform connects customers to online content both inside and outside the car, all powered by their smartphones. At launch timing, iPhone 5, 5S and 5C will benefit from all the features HondaLink offers. Compatible Android smartphone's are anticipated to become available next year.
Cars have had mobile services, but tethering to smartphones brings a lot of interesting possibilities. Examples touted are various apps for weather, messaging, car maintenance, navigation. Also audio content and basically sounds like a Honda app store.
Apple acquires Topsy Labs
Wall Street Journal:
Apple recently acquired social-media analytics firm Topsy Labs Inc. for more than $200 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
Topsy specializes in analyzing the global conversation on Twitter. Its tools can decipher how often a term is tweeted, find an influential person on a specific subject, or measure the exposure of an event or campaign.
It's impossible to guess Apple's motives with a lot of these deals. Generally though through acquisitions Apple is after a combination of turn-key systems and people. The Wall Street Journal speculates it there may be applications for Apple's iAds and or iRadio productions.
A look at some 4K monitor options
The pending Mac Pro supports 4K monitors, but Apple itself has yet to introduce a new 4K Cinema Display. In fact, the new Mac Pro can support up to three 4K displays. 9 to 5 Mac has a nice rundown of currently available 4K monitors. These can be pricy, as one would expect, but there are options for smaller budgets.
I'm a fan of some models in the Dell UltraSharp line, and Dell recently announced new 4K lineup. The sweet spot may be the upcoming 28-inch model which is expected to ship next year for less than $1000. (i.e. $999.99) It will be interesting to see what happens at CES in January within the DVI/DisplayPort 4K arena.
Rockstar bringing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to iOS
Before GTAV took us to the sun-bleached sidewalks and humming concrete freeways of present-day Los Santos and beyond, there was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the biggest GTA of the PS2 era. Now, head back to the early 90s with CJ and the Grove Street Families when Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas comes to mobile devices next month.
Originally released in 2004 was another huge hit in the GTA franchise. Lots of fun with a then not so distance 90's theme. The iOS version will feature new controls for touch screen. Also new will be iOS controller support in iOS 7.
Release date and pricing for iOS has not been set.
GLIF iPhone mount get update to be adjustable
GLIF from Studio Neat is a nifty tripod mount originally designed for the iPhone. The gadget allows the phone to attach on to a standard screw mount. The iPhone version was made specifically for the width of the phone. The revision of the GLIF is now adjustable so it can be used with a wide range of devices. Also the adjustable system makes it possible to mount while the iPhone is in a case.
The updated GLIF is available now for $30
Honda rolling out Siri Eye Free on selection 2014 vehicles
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. today announced that select Honda and Acura models including the 2013 -2014 Honda Accord and 2013 Acura RDX and ILX now offer Apple's Siri Eyes Free mode as a dealer installed accessory. Customers can visit a Honda or Acura dealership to purchase and install Siri Eyes Free integration so compatible iPhone customers can direct Siri to perform tasks while they keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. By reengineering the software in select vehicles (through the HondaLink™ or AcuraLink™ connected car systems) Siri seamlessly works with HandsFreeLink® via the onboard microphone and speakers.
Integration will allow users to perform Siri tasks using the vehicles hands-free system and built-in display. Users will be able to send text messages and email, read incoming messages, check the weather, check stocks and scores, and utilize navigation.
ScreenFlow 4.5 now available with Mavericks support
Telestream announced a major update to its screencasting ScreenFlow app. Version 4.5 offers new publishing features for Google Drive, Facebook, and Dropbox. That allows you to directly publish projects to those social media and cloud storage services. The new version brings an improved upload manager to allow users to publish projects in the background. New to this version is a $19.99 transition pack.
The update also brings support for OS X 10.9 Mavericks.
ScreenFlow is my go-to screencasting app. It works well and gives a fairly streamlined system for adding callouts, graphics, and basic editing.
Apple announces Black Friday sales
As usual Apple will have it's one-day Black Friday sale this week. The "shopping event" will take place both online and in retail stores.
Apple doesn't get into pre-announcing what will be on sale, but typically accessories will see nice discounts and $100 or so off of computers. This is pretty much the only time Apple has sales on regular products.
In addition to Apple itself, Apple gear will see deals at other retailers.
iPhone 5s now available unlocked from Apple
Apple is now selling the iPhone 5s for GSM networks without a contract tie-in. This joins the iPhone 5c which has been available without contract. The phone requires customers to go to their carrier and obtain a SIM card programmed for their account. In the U.S. that means users can go to AT&T or T-Mobile, for example.
Pricing of course is without a subsidy and runs $649, $749, and $849 for the 16GB, 32 GB, and 64GB models.
Apple buys 3D sensor company
Apple confirmed it acquired PrimeSense who may be best known for work on Microsoft's Kinect sensor. John Ribeiro for Macworld:
The company’s sensors have applications in other areas, ranging from retail to healthcare, which suggest that Apple has a number of alternatives for deployment of the technology in its own devices. Its Capri sensor is a small-size device designed specifically for integration with mobile phones, TVs, tablets and PCs.
Interesting purchase and people seem to assume it's related to a TV. The quote above, however, indicate a wide range of functions from retail to mobile. The price tag was $345 million, which would probably indicate a significant part of a future product.
Podcast: Power outage, bad phone carriers, PS4, CoD, plus more
Mike lost power this week and talks about gadgets in a blackout. Brian discusses the PS4 and also some lackluster sales with the latest Call of Duty. Also phone carriers rejected an anti-trust plan to keep things in their favor. Plus your app of the week.
Fifty Three announces Pencil Stylus
Fifty Three makes the popular drawing and writing Paper app for iOS, so it seems reasonable they come out with a fancy stylus. The new Pencil resembles and pencil you might use for construction/wood working, or maybe something a kindergartner would use. As you'd expect the Paper app offers special features for the pencil including palm rejection, an eraser, and a blended smudging with your finger.
Fifty Three says the Pencil battery lasts about a month and can be recharged via USB. It also offers a simple pairing system that involves just touching the stylus to to glass.
Pencil is available now for $49.95.
OWC adds USB 3.0 to Mercury Elite Pro Qx2 enclosures
The Qx2 box from Other World Computing is a four drive RAID system. It currently supports up to 16 TB and adds the port that's been missing. The device now ships with USB 3.0 in addition to FireWire 800 and eSATA. I like this box because it offers RAID 5, which will give a lot of storage with redundancy. A RAID 5 can lose a drive and keep going, which means if a drive dies you can swap it out and keep operating with no data loss. I have this running on FireWire, but it's just kind of slow these days. Thunderbolt would be nice, but USB 3.0 is very fast and available on all recent Macs and PCs. I've been preferring USB 3.0 over Thunderbolt lately due to cost and USB 3 is everywhere these days.
Pricing starts out at $549.99 for a 4TB model and a bare enclosure costs 279.99 if you want to roll your own.
Browse and search for more articles