Aug 31, 2010

What Will Apple Announce at Their Music-Centric September 1 Event?

Apple has finally made their September event official, and it's coming sooner than many expected—the "special event" will be held September 1 in San Francisco, and from the look of things it's going to involve music.

Some possible announcements:

• New, Facetime-ready iPod Touches?
• A 1.7" touch screen iPod Shuffle? (And some cases to add gas to the speculation havealready started popping up.)
• The feverishly anticipated cloud-enhanced iTunes?
• The long-rumored $99 Apple TV?
• 99 cent TV show rentals through Apple TV?

The Apple-sound-hole-guitar suggests that Apple's music making products might get updates—perhaps new versions of Logic and Garage Band? I certainly wouldn't mind if they were overhauled to take advantage of the Magic Trackpad's multitouch goodness. Or how about Garage Band for the iPad? Hell, I'd just take some news on the iPad's jump to iOS 4.whatever.

And perhaps at this event we'll finally find out the answer to the mystifying question: Why on Earth did Lady Gaga visit the Apple offices? If Gaga and Steve Jobs appeared on stage together, the combined reality distortion would be so great that I'm not sure our planet would ever recover.

Aug 29, 2010

Airphone 4 Review (Fake iPhone 4)

Aug 28, 2010

Ugly iPhone 4 Case Comes With Built-In Dual-SIM Adapter

This transparent iPhone 4 case doesn't exactly look great, but it comes with a clever feature: A dual-SIM adapter. It means that you can keep two SIM cards attached to your iPhone and toggle between them using a menu setting.
The adapter unfortunately doesn't allow both SIM cards to be active at the same time, but it's still a clever—albeit somewhat sloppy-looking—design. I'd just prefer the SIM cards to be hidden by an opaque case.
The adapter case is available now for $29.

Aug 27, 2010


Why the Netflix iPhone App Makes Me a Happy Zombie

My Netflix Instant queue is long. Very, very long. And because I'm not a quitter, I'm determined to watch every last bit of it. Attacking it from my iPhone actually gives me a fighting chance.

Here's a confession: I don't own an iPad. So while the rest of you have been have been luxuriating in the Dexter back catalog since April on 9.7 inches of portable Netflix goodness, I've been eying my 3GS with a mixture of contempt and disappointment. But it was like getting mad at a goldfish for not learning how to roll over. Different beast, different skill set.

But to be honest, even if I had an iPad, I'd still need the Netflix app on the iPhone. Watching movies on the iPhone has never been ideal. The screen's a bit too small, the battery drain's often not worth it. But here's the thing: the movies on Watch Instantly aren't so hot anyway. Netflix gets consistently boned with delays, up to and including their deal with Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM that kicks in next week. Short of the often random Starz selection and some worthy oldies, the movies are pretty much bunk.

But fact, the reason my queue is so backed up isn't movies at all. It's the season upon season of bygone TV shows loaded on there, that I either missed the first time around or miss today. Firefly. Black Adder. Fawlty Towers. The Riches. Dollhouse. I already mentioned Dexter, which my reliably informed parents insist is a must-watch. And for the small screen experience, my iPhone is perfect. To carry and to display the kind of fidelity I need for TV. And to grab bits of TV any time an opportunity presents itself. On the train, the bus, while waiting in line with a bag in one hand and a video playing in the other.

Here's how Netflix streaming works on my 3GS: silky smooth over Wi-Fi, gimped over 3G. And I'm way more relieved about the former than I am concerned about the latter. Streaming video over 3G has always been untenable; I'm just glad they even offer up the option. But the interface is easy, the video is clear and crisp enough to make dream of retina displays, and it played back the first five twenty minutes of Futurama: Bender's Game.

Can I fawn some more? I'd like to if you've got a minute. But not just about Netflix on the iPhone. That's just one slice of the pie. It's been on the iPad for months. It looks like it'll be gorgeous on Windows Phone 7. Android can't be far behind (right?). Then throw in WiMax and LTE speeds. Maybe a future in which studios embrace broad distribution instead of fight it—or Netflix pays up for earlier distribution rights, given how much money they save streaming rather than shipping. That's when we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want. That's the dream. And we're so close.

For now, though? I'm about to go on vacation for a week. And I'm going to spend a lot of it catching up with Mal Reynolds and Manuel and some serial killer my parents watch week after week. I'll won't have to pack anything more than my phone to do it. I couldn't do that yesterday.

Never Swim Without a Soundtrack Again

Think about the last time you went swimming. Now think about what else you were doing the last time you went swimming. Nothing! Panicking, maybe. This waterproof Bluetooth headset from the boys at Brando brings multitasking into the deep end.

Whether you want to gab with your friends, orchestrate your next million dollar business deal, or just listen to the Little Mermaid soundtrack, you're only $57 away from adding Bluetooth to your backstroke. Specs:

IPx8 Certified to waterproof (3-metre/24-hours)
"Noise Rebound" technology makes clear talk
Touch Functionality through case surface
13 hours extra long talk and music time
Easy to detach and rotatble clip
Light reflective
Battery – 360mAh Li-polymer
Standy by 240-hours
Version 2.1 + EDR
Of course you could use it to listen to music while you were in the shower, too, but that'd be totally dorky.

Apple Wants to Remake the Audio Jack

Apple Wants to Remake the Audio Jack

Simply put, Apple wants fewer holes in its devices. Headphone jack—that's a hole. Microphone—that's a hole. According to a recent patent filing, Apple is looking to consolidate by combining the functionality of the two into one unified jack.

The patent argues that "in addition to using housing real estate, sound input apertures and electrical connectors introduce openings in the housing and breach the barrier that protects components inside the housing." So, fewer holes in the device itself, fewer ways for dust and other gunk to find their way inside. It also jibes completely with Apple's obsessively minimalist design ethos. Another potential perk of the two-in-one design would be enhanced voice quality, thanks to the addition of an extra noise-snuffing microphone—what Apple calls "audio beamforming."