Category: Hardware »
The 16GB model of the 5th generation of iPod Touches was always somewhat the odd one out in the line-up. Whilst its bulkier-in-memory brothers, the 32GB and 64GB models, had rear-facing cameras and multiple different colors to pick from, the 16GB only had a front-facing camera and was only available in one color.
Today that changes, as Apple has announced that the most affordable iPod Touch will now also contain a rear-facing 5 megapixel iSight camera and will be available in multiple colors: pink, yellow, blue, silver, space gray, and Product Red.
In addition to this, all models have received a worldwide drop in their suggested price. The 16GB model now costs $199, the 32GB model $249 and the 64GB model $299. The 16GB model is available in the US through the Apple Online Store now.
Like to take photos with your iPad? Olloclip finally has a product for you. The Olloclip 4-in-1 iPad Photo Lens clips on to the iPad and its camera lens, offering fisheye, wide-angle, and 10x & 15x macro lenses for zoom.
The clip-on lens supports iPad Mini (original and Retina) and iPad Air, and will be available for $69.99 - expected to ship on June 2. Now, you can buck the absurd social stigma against iPad photography by taking much better photos than those who would dare mock you.
Seagate Releases New Wireless Plus Portable Hard Drive for Accessing Files and Media via Wi-Fi from Anywhere
Hard drive manufacturer Seagate has announced their latest wireless storage product: the Seagate Wireless Plus hard drive. These portable hard drives are available in 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities, and have a battery life of up to 10 hours. Users can connect to these hard drives via wi-fi through the Seagate Media app, which can beam media from the drive via AirPlay.
The hard drives are available now, starting at an MSRP of $149.99.
GDC 2014: 13th Lab Reveals Rescape Augmented Reality Rifle Controller for iOS with Kickstarter Campaign
13th Lab has launched a Kickstarter for their upcoming Rescape accessory for first-person shooters on iPhone. This rifle-esque accessory is built for quasi-ARG applications: the game uses the gyroscope and camera attachment, and the software can map out real world areas to be turned into game levels. As well, the software can be implemented into existing games - the prototype allowed players to play with a prototype of Quake at their GDC booth. The 3D printed prototype lacks the planned d-pad on the controller and the Kickstarter is looking for $150,000 at a $129 buy-in for the prototype and SDK access for developers with the demo Office Defender game.
Those out there who are familiar with Apple's movements around this time of year will know that we're just a few days out from Apple's annual one-day only Black Friday shopping event. Set to kick-off this Friday, November 29, the day will mark one of the only times in the year that Apple offers significant discounts on its many hardware products - both online and through its physical retail stores.
While specifics on what hardware we might expect to be discounted come this Friday are still a little sketchy, we can take a quick look at the company's Black Friday events held in previous years for clues as to what type of discounts shoppers should expect to see emerge towards the end of this week.
Last year for example, we saw the firm drop its iPad with Retina Display by a cool $41. Meanwhile, the iPod touch 4th Generation was slashed by $21, the iPad 2 saw an average drop of $31, and the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was available for $101 less than its usual retail price.
As significant as some of the above discounts may sound though, Apple is almost always beaten in its online holiday discounts by third-party vendors. One of those third-party vendors is Target, who will be offering shoppers a free $75 gift card with any purchase of Apple's iPad mini ($279), and the chance to bag themselves a free $100 gift card with the purchase of any iPad, (including the iPad 2 - which starts at $399), when doors finally open this Thursday. The retailer will also be offering $30 gift cards for those who purchase the iPhone 5S (staring at $180) with a 2 year contract.
Retailer Walmart will be running a similar promotion, seeing all shoppers receive a free $75 gift card with the purchase of either an iPhone 5C ($45, with a 2 year contract) or iPhone 5S ($189, with a 2 year contract). Meanwhile, if you opt to buy Apple's original iPad mini (without “Retina” display), you could even grab yourself a free $100 gift card.
The last of the biggest retailers - Best Buy - will be offering Apple's iPhone 5C for the lowest upfront cost we've been able to find at just $48 (a $51.99 savings). The firm will also be slashing the cost of Apple's just-launched 16 GB iPad Air to $450, providing a super-neat saving of $50.
Other smaller retailers, such as RadioShack, will open their doors at 8AM. The purchase of Apple's iPhone 5S, (starting at $200 with a 2 year contract), will see you receive a free $50 gift card, while opting for the iPhone 5C - (starting at $50 with a 2 year contract) - will also see you receive a free $50 gift card. Pick up an Apple TV for $100 on your way and you'll get a free $20 gift card. Plus, those looking for some extra in-store credit to spend on even more Black Friday deals will probably appreciate the chance to bag a $10 RadioShack gift card with the purchase of any $50 iTunes Card. Those looking for some added protection to add to their iOS devices might also be pleased to hear that RadioShack will be offering 30% off all Zagg Screen Protectors, and a further 10% off all Otterbox cases.
Sam's Club will be opening its doors for black Friday super-early, this year. 7 AM to be exact. If you get down there quick though, you might just be able to bag yourself a few $100 iTunes Cards for $79.88 each.
The lowest prices for iOS devices available for Black Friday 2013 are listed below.
We've been anxiously awaiting the release of the new Sony QX line of lens-style cameras: those super high quality lens systems that attach to the back of an iPhone and communicate with the phone via a Sony app. We had a few minutes to go hands-on with the QX-100 high-end lens yesterday, and here's what we saw. More on the QX cameras.
While not in the perfect setting, we did a few side-by-side tests with the QX-100 ($499) lens against the stock camera in the iPhone 5S. Here are the sample shots and a few notes for each. These images are not modified other than whatever the individual cameras do by default and for size/cropping for use here.
This first shot is a bit of a torture shot for any camera. Bright colors, bright sun, dark shadows, natural and artificial light all in one. In this one both cameras do a good job, but the nod goes to the Sony QX-100 for better representation of the colors in both the light and dark areas. Also a better job of keeping the highlights from blowing out and the darks from disappearing.
In this shot, both cameras do a great job. While the Sony has a richer color saturation - perhaps too saturated - both are quite good. One plus for the Sony: notice that the background is blurred nicely vs the flatter image from the iPhone.
In all, the real let down was the software. And the good thing about that is that it can be updated. Hopefully it will be. Image size is also an issue. The iPhone 5s takes images natively at 8MP while the Sony QX-100 was only sending 1.5MP images to the camera. It is capable, with an micro-SD card installed, to take up to 20MP images, but I was unable to test that.
The price is another thing to think of. The QX-100 is $500. While saving a couple hundred over the same featured RX-100 camera, it might be worth the extra just to be able to use the camera by itself. Without further testing I can't really be sure if the camera is worth the $500 over the camera built into the iPhone. We hope to have a full review for you later this year as the lenses become more readily available.
I have very fond memories of seeing the sights of the world through a View-Master, with its fancy stereoscopic imagery. In a way, that's the sort of thing that Poppy is set to offer, with the added bonus of users being able to create and share their own 3D videos, rather than be constricted to pieces of cardboard acting as film.
It's the brainchild of Joe Heitzeberg and Ethan Lowry. Both previously have a solid background in software, with Ethan having co-founded Urbanspoon, and Joe establishing Snapvine and MediaPiston, but this is their first step into physical products.
"I've always been interested in products that let people express themselves and be creative," explained Ethan. "At the same time, I love how the Viewmaster lets you lose yourself in another world. Poppy really came out of a desire to let people capture and share their own experiences in that same immersive way."
It's certainly proven to be a wise idea, given that Poppy hit its Kickstarter goal of $40,000 in less than 9 hours. As Ethan told us, "The success on Kickstarter has definitely exceeded our expectations. We're thrilled that there will be thousands of people with a Poppy. [We] can't wait to see how they use it."
The excitement is understandable, too. Poppy is set to be an inexpensive solution for those who love the look of technology such as the Oculus Rift, but not the price. Currently, for Kickstarter backers, Poppy only costs $49 with the full retail price set to be a respectable $69.
Despite that low price, Poppy looks like it's going to offer a lot of functionality. A matter of placing one's iPhone inside the device, the Poppy's mirrors capture two stereographic images with the iPhone's camera, before combining them into a single 3D video. It's clever stuff, indeed.
Besides the photographic potential, users will be able to take in 3D imagery, such as the 3D videos available on YouTube, with future possibilities in the realm of augmented reality and in the use of other 3D applications. Indeed, numerous game developers have expressed an interest in the technology, so there's the hope that Poppy could be used as part of a virtual reality world game in the future.
Currently, there's still a little time to order the Poppy at the Kickstarter promotional price of $49 plus shipping, but for those who miss out on the offer (the campaign ends on Friday), Ethan told us that a pre-order system should be up after it ends. Bear in mind though, the price will be higher at $69 and Kickstarter backers will be shipped to first. The current plan is that Poppys will be shipped to backers around November/December time, with pre-orders to be shipped after that time.
Learn more about the project at the campaign page, and we'll be sure to keep an eye on the Poppy's progress in the future.
One thing is for sure, the big iOS 7 reveal is going to cause some friction. Users are going to love or hate the new look. It's very different, very different indeed.
Every single pixel of iOS7 has changed. It's the flat design that we have been hearing so much of, but with lots of points of flair thrown in too. It could be described as all of these: bright, square, flat, layered, colorful. It seems to borrow inspiration from Windows Phone, with Sir Jonathan Ive's take on what it should have been. If you haven't seen it already, here's an example of what the flat design of iOS 7 looks like:
iOS 7 has included many of the features people have been clamoring for while ignoring a few others. Apple, as always, needs to innovate without compromise. This means add features without compromising the user experience. Not just the experience of the expert users, but of all users. Everyone should be able to use iOS without confusion. Here are a few of the key updates:
The new look of iOS simplifies and removes what is known as skeuomorphism, or making digital things look like real live items. Think the leather in calendar or the felt in Game Center. The flat design simplifies will helping users get the info they need. During the presentation, Craig Federighi repeatedly noted the lack of wood, felt, and stitching in the new iOS. He is obviously not a fan of the old look. Apple has much more on the new design of iOS 7 in their iOS 7 Design page.
iOS 7 includes some much needed features like quick access to radio on/off buttons, multiple page folders, and new gestures to make navigation faster. It also includes an updated multitasking tray that shows what apps are open along with what the current screen looks like for that app.
Air Drop is the feature in iOS that allows sharing between multiple iOS and OS X devices. It allows quick and easy sharing of items like images, movies, etc. Pulling up the share sheet will show a new option for Air Drop that allows you to pick from users nearby to share the item with.
iCloud updates were a necessary item to check off the list for iOS 7, and Apple did some good updates to iCloud features this time around. For one thing, iOS will securely share your keychain (passwords, credit card info, etc.) between your devices including OS X devices. This will hopefully lead to users with stronger passwords as the need to remember this is no longer needed.
iCloud Photostreams now allow sharing of videos as well as allowing multiple users to add items to a Photostream (finally!).
A few months ago we posted a (decidedly pretentious) open letter to Apple about theft. While I don't think our letter was the reason that Apple finally did something about the issue of stollen iOS devices, it would be awesome to think it did.
Under iOS 7, Apple iOS devices will now require the iCloud user login to activate a wiped device once it has been activated with that account. This means that if a thief tries to wipe the phone, or if a user wipes a phone due to it being lost, before it can be re-activated, whomever has it MUST login with the original iCloud login, or it won't activate. Fantastic, thanks Apple!
App Store updates were minimal, but of obvious interest for readers of this site, so we'll include them here. The only real new feature mentioned, besides the new iOS7 look, is a new Apps Near Me feature. This feature shows the apps that are popular near the current location.
Another feature that will be interesting to see how it's implemented is age-appropriate apps. The Kids section now has a curated age-range section for apps for kids of a certain age.
In addition, iOS 7 will automatically update the apps, when updates are available, if the user wishes.
One big feature, an no other real mention of gaming at the keynote, in spite of this being E3 week.
We heard rumors at GDC that Apple was asking developers about their interest in game controllers. Now we know what has come of that. iOS 7 will have support for Game Controllers that are specifically made for iPhone/iOS. It will be interesting to see what this really means now that it's been made official. We've already seen the (now dead) Gameloft Controller that was officially supported by iOS.
Multitasking for All
Apple has updated the multitasking for apps to include all apps, with some restrictions. This multitasking allows the app to update in the background, but not run constantly. Which would, of course, ruin battery life. But iOS 7 should allow intelligent multitasking to let apps update at certain intervals and when the timing is right like when the phone has a good signal. It is also designed to group the updates -- so when the power consumption spikes for the background updates, multiple can be done at once to keep the battery impact to a minimum.
Apple really needed to deliver the updates for iOS 7. While we don't know all of the details yet - like what SDK changes have been made, we do know that the interface has been greatly improved. We'll have more in the coming days and can expect more new features to surface.
iOS 7 will be compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPod Touch 5th gen and later, and iPad 2, iPad mini and later.
All in all, I think it's a significant update, well done, thoughtful, and I can't wait to get my hands on it. It will be out in the fall for iPhone, iPads, and iPod touches.