Rumor: Apple could announce home automation technologies at WWDC

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Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 11:36
Category: Hardware, Rumor, Software, WWDC

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It may not be a complete “Jetsons” future, but it might be Apple automating parts of your home.

And it might be announced as early as next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Per The Mac Observer and Financial Times, anonymous sources have told the Financial Times that Apple will unveil its plans on June 2 in front of developers and the media. Apple will introduce a new platform for controlling in-home devices such as lights, appliances, and security systems that will also tie in to a new version of Apple TV to be introduced later this year.

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A quick look at Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch

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Date: Tuesday, May 27th, 2014, 09:50
Category: Accessory, Android, Hardware, Wearables

People were pretty disappointed to hear that Apple wasn’t planning to introduce or speak about any new hardware at WWDC, so an iWatch may still be a ways off…or a complete surprise. With no signs of an Apple smartwatch on the horizon, other companies are trying to get the jump on the watch market. Among the contenders is Qualcomm’s Toq Smartwatch. The Toq (toke…tock…not sure) so far only works with Android devices and presents a set of the typical features we expect from a smartwatch such as access to calendars, calls and texting, notifications from social services, music control, etc.. Information-wise, it doesn’t provide any more than a Pebble, but it does have some other nice features.

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Energous developing wireless Wattup technology, could allow for gadget charging across a room

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Date: Friday, May 23rd, 2014, 14:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News, wireless

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We’ve all dreamed of charging our devices from across the room.

This may soon be a reality.

Per the MIT Technology Review, startup Energous is developing a technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.

Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch or top off your phone while buying a coffee in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup called Witricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.

For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage. But it works and devices can be charged wirelessly if they are connected to an external receiver, or slotted into a special protective case.

During a recent demonstration, an iPhone was plugged into a white device shaped like a smartphone atop a little stand. Another iPhone sits on the table, wearing a bulky Energous case. Across the table, a briefcase-sized wireless energy transmitter sits on another tripod and a plug dangling from that was plugged into the wall.

The demonstration showed the iPhone’s charge progress, as measured via an app on a nearby iPad, the wireless energy transmitter being controlled via an app on the iPad. A small beep indicated that the iPhone’s charge cycle had begun and recharging works more than 10 feet from where the power is emitted, and you can move the device around while it’s charging.

The most common wireless-charging technology currently available is magnetic induction, which uses coils to transfer power over small distances via a magnetic field. This is the method used to recharge electric toothbrushes, for example.

Energous’s charging method uses a transmitter with lots of small antennas to send radio waves to a receiver connected to the gadget being charged. The transmitter uses Bluetooth to scan for nearby gadgets that are authorized to receive a charge. Once it finds one, the transmitter directs radio waves toward the receiver, which collects them and converts their energy to DC power so it can charge the phone.

The transmitter and receivers Energous brings to my office can send power to two devices that require less than 10 watts of power at a distance of up to 15 feet; eventually, Energous says, it will be able to charge more gadgets at a time.

The company expects the first products using its technology—such as smartphone cases that can deliver wireless power to the devices—to be shown off by partner companies at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January and go on sale later in the year. Company representatives had predicted that a phone case would cost about US$75 to US$125, which is within the range of what you’d pay today for a case that provides extended battery life, though the transmitter for charging things probably would cost around US$300.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google is creeping onto your desktop

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Date: Tuesday, May 13th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Apps, Features, Google, Software

Chrome canary logoThis isn’t the first time Google has invaded the desktop space of other operating systems. Who remembers the train-wreck that was Google Desktop? However, this time Google might have it right…or at least close. Some of you may be aware of Chromium, the open-source project behind Google Chrome, which has nightly builds of the app which may squash bugs, introduce new ones, or add new “cutting-edge” features, which may not be ready for the general public. When a particular stable version gets the ok, Google cleans it up and releases it as an update to Google Chrome.

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Apple’s iPhone upgrade promotion starts today

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Date: Thursday, May 8th, 2014, 08:33
Category: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, News, Promotion, Retail Store

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According to 9to5Mac, sources close to Apple say that starting today (May 8th), Apple will begin contacting upgrade-eligible iPhone users with older iPhone models via email this week, inviting them to come into their local Apple Store to upgrade their device to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. No trade-in prices have been mentioned, but it’s expected that this is an extension of Apple’s iPhone hardware trade-in program which allows customers to turn-in older iPhone models to purchase a new model at a discounted price. Reports from outside sources have said that Apple has recently increased the buyback prices for iPhones in its trade-in-programwhich it may be leveraging in the promotion in an attempt to increase iPhone sales.

Back in January, Apple posted its first quarter iPhone sales and analysts were disappointed that it didn’t meet their expectations. Even though Apple sold 51 million iPhones during the quarter, up from 47.8 million a year earlier, Wall Street analysts were expecting closer to 57 million iPhones to be sold. These “disappointing” numbers may be the impetus behind the upgrade promotion which will hopefully bring up sales numbers for the current quarter.

What about you? If Apple knocks on your door, are you inclined to run to your nearest store to upgrade your iPhone? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

 

 

Microsoft cuts support, but XP still going strong

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Date: Friday, May 2nd, 2014, 09:55
Category: Microsoft, security, Software, Windows

XP-LogoSupport for the aging Windows XP operating system was dropped as of April 8th, but according to web traffic monitoring, the OS still held a little over 25% of the market share. While that number continues to drop, those same stats show XP to be second only to Windows 7 (nearly 50%) among the list of major operating systems.

As part of Microsoft’s discontinuation of support, they will no longer provides bug fixes, security patches, or other updates to XP. This will leave the 13-year-old OS vulnerable to future security threats. Microsoft began announcing the end of XP support nearly seven years ago to give people plenty of opportunity to migrate to a newer version of Windows, but the entrenchment of legacy business software and other factors are making then transition a slow one.

Are you going to stick with XP now that Microsoft support is gone? Let us know in the comments or on the Facebook page.

 

 

A good view of the Amazon smartphone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 2nd, 2014, 08:13
Category: Amazon, Features, Hardware, Mobile, News, photos

amazon-logo-150x60What’s the one thing missing from today’s tech lifestyle? That’s right, another smartphone! At least that is what Amazon is betting on when it launches its own phone later this year. There have been a few photos of phone’s hardware in the last month, but it appeared that there was some type of case obscuring details of the device’s appearance. The folks over at BGR have managed to snag a nice, clear image of Amazon’s yet unnamed smartphone.

 

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New MacBook Airs sport new processors and cheaper

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Date: Tuesday, April 29th, 2014, 09:05
Category: Apple, Hardware, Intel, MacBook Air, News, Processors

macbook-air-13-inchApple’s MacBook Air models were quietly updated on Monday, with the only major changes being a slight speed-bump and a lower price. Anyone hoping for Airs with Retina Displays will have to wait a bit longer. At $100 less than the previous models, the starting price for an 11″ Macbook Air is $899 which now uses a 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache, and 128 GB of flash storage. Both the 11″ and 13″ models can be configured with the faster 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz) with 4MB shared L3 cache.

 

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If you’re pinching pennies, now might be a great time to grab a discount on the old models.

 

 

California kills smartphone ‘kill switch’ bill

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Date: Friday, April 25th, 2014, 09:55
Category: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Legal, Mobile Phone, News, security, Software

Back in February, State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon introduced a bill that would mandate the inclusion of a “kill switch” in phones sold in the state of California. If approved, the anti-theft feature would have been required to be preloaded and automatically enabled on all smartphones sold after January 1, 2015, leaving the phone inoperable if stolen. In a statement put out by Leno and Gascon at the time of the bill’s introduction, in San Francisco alone, cell phone thefts make up 66 percent of all robberies. Just over the bridge in Oakland, thefts are even higher to over 75 percent. The statement also said that recovering those phones cost consumers in the US more than $30 billion in 2012.

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Mac Pro shipping times are improving

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Date: Friday, April 25th, 2014, 08:56
Category: Apple, Hardware, Mac, Mac Pro, News

Mac Pro assembly lineBack in mid-February, shortly after the new Mac Pro was announced, we reported about how shipping dates were listed for “April”. Well, April is here and it looks like Apple is finally catching up as shipping times are now listed as 3-5 weeks. At the beginning of April, times had started showing up at 5-6 weeks and have been slowly improving. Alas, you still cannot walk or drive to tour nearest Apple retail store and pick one up. All sales of the Mac Pro are through the online store, which will probably be the case until Apple catches up with its backlog of orders. There are some online retailers selling Mac Pros, which you might get sooner, but their supplies have been limited by Apple.

 

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