Sep 30, 2012

This Crazy Steve Jobs Sculpture Is Supposedly Made with a Touch of Jobs’ Stolen Trash

You may remember the Steve Jobs action figures that were introduced and then canceled earlier this year. Now there's a new Steve Jobs figure on the horizon, one that supposedly contains a weird and creepy ingredient: trash stolen from Jobs himself.

The sculpture, made by XVALA, is due to be shown at a gallery in Los Angeles starting early in October. As for the trash thing, Cory Allen Contemporary Art described it this way in the announcement of the piece:
Coated in an "Apple White finish," the sculpture is cast in the artist's patented plastic porcelain, mixed with a recycled resin made up of Steve Job's residential trash which the artist collected from the tech icon's home several months before his death.
The plan, apparently, is to mass-produce the sculptures in "an appropriate work environment" as a shot at Apple's Foxconn production facilities and a limited number will come in black, as a reminder of Foxconn suicides. According to Cory Allen, production will continue with or without (read: without) Apple's approval. The sculptures, entitled "Think Different" will be unveiled on October 13th. More here.

Sep 29, 2012

Apple Stops Calling Its Maps “The Most Powerful”

Following Apple CEO Tim Cook's candid admission that Apple Maps might not be so great, and his suggestion that users turn to competing services, Apple has cleaned up one final detail: they aren't calling their maps the most powerful any more.

Previously, Apple's website suggested iOS 6 maps were not only the most beautiful, but also the most powerful maps out there saying "All of which may just make this app the most beautiful, powerful mapping service ever." Granted, the statement was hedged a bit with that "may just" part, but apparently not enough because now they've removed the word "powerful" all together. The new description reads "All in a beautiful vector-based interface that scales and zooms with ease."

After Cook's apology, and pointing users toward the likes of Bing and MapQuest in the app store, this last bit of language-changing definitely seems fitting. And accurate. More here.

A Stiff Bendy Cable Keeps This Power Bar Exactly Where You Put It

If you ever try to use a power bar anywhere but on the floor, you'll quickly realize that gravity will do everything it can to drag it off a table, a ladder, or anything not at ground level. That's not the case with Quirky's new Prop Power extension cord, though. Its six-foot cable is made with flexible wiring and a conforming plastic sleeve, so it holds its shape.

That means you can wrap it around table legs, or snake it through the steps of a ladder, and it will hold on for dear life. Unfortunately the business end of the Prop Power is limited to just three grounded outlets, but there's nothing stopping you from daisy chaining another power bar on the end when you run out. And while Quirky promises the Prop Power is going into production, there's no estimate on how much it will cost or when it will be available until they start actually churning them out. More here.

Sep 28, 2012

This $50 Stick Turns Any HDTV Into an Android-Powered Smart TV

If you're wondering how you can breathe life into that old TV set, the FAVI SmartStick might be what you're looking for. For $50, you get a dongle that provides your TV with Android and access to streaming movies and music.

The stick, which runs Jelly Bean and packs 4GB of storage, plugs into any HDMI port and uses baked-in Wi-Fi to provide access to the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Epix, YouTube, and Pandora. It comes as standard with a full internet browser, but because it runs Android you can download anything from the Play store, too.

The stick also lets you stream media wirelessly from another computer elsewhere in your pad, though you have to use a proprietary MediaSHARE app. And it does only cost $50. More here.

Sep 27, 2012

World’s Thinnest External Drive Squeezes Half a Terabyte Into a Third of an Inch

ADATA is touting its new HE720 as the world's thinnest external hard drive. The company has managed to squeeze 500 GB of storage and a speedy USB 3.0 connection into a brushed metal enclosure measuring in at a mere 8.9 millimeters thick—or just over a third of an inch.

Just a few days ago Toshiba claimed its new Canvio external drive—boasting similar specs—was the world's thinnest. But it measures in at a portly nine millimeters meaning ADATA's got it beat by a hair—literally. So if you've already transitioned to a thin ultrabook, this will easily squeeze alongside it in your bag. The new HE720 of course includes the requisite mediocre backup software that comes standard on most external drives these days, and is available right now with a matching svelte price tag of just $90. More here.

Your Future iPad’s Display Might Have Built-In Speakers

Apple's always publishing patents, but here's one that sounds rather fun: imagine an iPhone or iPad with a flexible display that has speakers built in to it, to provide surround sound.

The patent describes a flexible display with all manner of built-in features: a tactile keyboard, laser mics and speakers. Much of this is made possible by the idea of a flexible display—which is some way off but by no means impossible to achieve. Once you can manage that, according to this patent, the world's your oysters.

For instance, shove an array of transducers behind the screen and you turn the whole thing into a giant speaker, which would go some way to sounding like a proper set of speakers. Vibration may be a problem, but that might be tolerable compared to the tinny sound you squeeze out of most mobile and tablet speakers. Unlikely to exist any time soon, of course, but we can dream. More here.

Sep 26, 2012

This Is the Closest View of Mars Yet

The Mars Curiosity Rover has touched a Martian rock for the first time. And, in the process, it gave us the closest, most detailed view of the Red Planet (a tiny part of it) yet, using her Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at ten, two and one inches from the rock.

The target was the pyramid-shaped rock of unknown origin, named Jake Matijevic in honor of the Mars Rover surface operations systems chief engineer who recently passed away.

The origin and composition will be known soon: the rover examined Jake Matijevic with its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), one of the instruments at the end of its multi-use robotic arm. Then it used its ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera instrument) to shoot laser pulses to determine the rock's chemical composition.

According to NASA, the dark, relatively smooth rock "was selected as a desirable target because it allowed the science team to compare results of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument and the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument, both of which provide information about the chemical elements in a target." More here.

Minuscule Voice Recorder Guarantees No One Will Know You’re a Snitch

When you're involved in a sting operation, or just trying to collect some incriminating evidence, the last thing you want is the perps realizing you've been recording everything. And since the days of sneakily recording a conversation with a phone in your pocket are long gone, this ridiculously tiny voice recorder could be the next best thing.

The Edic-mini Tiny B22 is just over an inch in size and weighs roughly the same as a large coin. But its built-in ultra sensitive microphone can record sounds up to 30 feet away, and the company claims that with a fresh cell-sized battery it can record for up to 24 hours, non-stop. And if you're planning a particularly long stakeout, a voice-activated mode is promised to almost triple that to 70 hours. It's just too bad it's crippled with a USB 1.1 port which makes offloading files incredibly slow, and a $440 price tag that will probably have most people just risking their lives with a cheap smartphone app. More here.

Apple Can’t Trademark Its Music Icon Because Of MySpace

In a hilarious court ruling, Apple got denied a trademark on its orange music icon (the one that's on iOS devices) because trademark judges said consumers might confuse the logo with one owned by MySpace. Hah!

Yes, My_____ or ____space or whatever it's going to be these days, is screwing with Apple's plans. Take a look at the two logos to see if there are similarities beyond being orange

Backstory on the MySpace logo: It was issued to a music service called iLike in 2008 and was acquired by MySpace in 2009 before being shuttered earlier this year. Apple tried to argue that no one has ever confused the two logos (which is probably true) but the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board disagreed saying:

In view of the facts that the marks are similar, the goods and services are related and are encountered by the same classes of consumers, we find that applicant's double musical note and design for "computer software [..]" is likely to cause confusion with the registered mark comprising a double musical note and design [..] for listening to MP3's and for sharing MP3's and music playlists with others.

Sep 24, 2012

iPhone 5 vs .50 Cal

Do You Use Your Phone At Concerts?

In some ways, it's a cardinal sin. In other ways, it's understandable. There's a whole world of difference between tweeting between sets to try and inflame your friends' jealousy, and holding your gargantuan phablet above your head for three or four songs at a time, blocking the view of those behind you, and capturing video that is so low quality that no one will want to watch it. Ever. You might wish you'd never even bothered to shoot it in the first place.

What's OK according to your personal smartphone concert etiquette? One quick shot as the headliner comes out on stage? No pictures, but texts, tweets, and Facebooking between sets? Unconditional and violent death to all phone-wielders?

Sep 23, 2012

How To Find Out If the Web Services You Use Every Day Are Making Money

A lot of business is done on the Internet, but the model for making money there isn't as straightforward as "sell a thing, make a profit." So how do the web services you use every day make money? The aptly named "How Do They Make Money" has some answers.

Often, the answer is subscribers, advertising, and freemium, but other factors are in the mix too. Even with all those options, a lot of these services aren't profitable. Which ones aren't might surprise you. How Do They Make Money has a breakdown of revenue type and profitability of nearly 50 different prominent Internet companies, and lets you arrange them by the kind of income they have, or the service they provide.

It's a neat little distraction, but it's worth noting that the site doesn't cite its sources, so if you're in this for anything more than mild amusement, you're going to have to go vet the facts yourself see here  How Do They Make Money

Sep 22, 2012

Twitter Is Finally Going To Let You Download All Your Old Tweets

Maybe you tweet mostly about lunch, or other seemingly inane things, but your Twitter stream forms something of a journal for most users. It is a micro-blog, after all. Now, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is saying you'll be able to download all your past tweets by the end of the year.

For the moment you have to use third-party services if you want to keep tweets on hand for posterity, and if you reached the 3,200-tweet API limit before you started, some of those early ones are effectively lost. From the sounds of it, Twitter's official backup tool could bail those folks out.

That's not the only thing coming either. In addition to tweet-downloading, Twitter is also looking into ways to allow third parties to republish large collections of tweets that might be relevant to breaking news or a live event, and include things like live polls, or other live-updating information. Despite API changes that screwed many third-party clients, it looks like Twitter is still planning on adding some interesting functionality to their surface. Whether they can fill the hole they've created, though, is yet to be seen. More here.

iPhone 5 jailbroken, but not yet ready for public consumption

You knew that the hackers of the world would be anxious to jailbreak their fresh new iPhone 5's, and the feat's been accomplished just a day after older hardware running iOS 6 was similarly set free. Grant Paul posted the picture you see above on Twitter, confirming his new, elongated iPhone is, indeed, running Cydia. Unfortunately, the jailbreak isn't available to the rest of us just yet, but it shouldn't be long before the masses gain access, too. Viva la liberté! More here.

Sep 21, 2012

You Can Now Slap a Quarter Terabyte of Storage In Your Camera

It took a few months longer than its 256 GB compact flash card, but Lexar has finally announced a matching 256 GB SDXC card that makes it oh-so-easy to lose or misplace a quarter terabyte of photographs. To put that in perspective, if you were shooting full resolution, full quality JPGs with the Sony RX100, you'd be able to snap just under 80,000 shots before needing to swap out your card.

The Professional 400x 256GB SDXC UHS-I is a Class 10 card that boasts a guaranteed sustained transfer speed—at least when reading data—of 60 MB per second. Just make sure you're using it with a card reader that can keep up. And, not surprisingly, when it's available next month Lexar expects you to cough up $900 for the privilege of rarely having to delete photos off your camera. More here.

Matias Quiet Pro Claims to be the 'Wworld's Quietest Mechanical Keyboard'

Canada's Matias Corporation has made something of a name for itself with its tactile keyboards, but those have primarily appealed to those who also enjoy (or at least accept) the sound of a mechanical keyboard in addition to its feel. The company's hoping to bring a few more into the tactile fold with its new Quiet Pro, though, which it claims is the "world's quietest mechanical keyboard." That, Matias says, comes without any sacrifices to tactile feedback, and is said to be the result of more than two years of work. As usual, the keyboard comes in both PC and Mac specific models (all-black and silver & black, respectively), each of which boasts three USB 2.0 ports and laser-etched keys with beveled keytops as opposed to the increasingly common flat variety.

Not surprisingly, you can also expect to pay a bit of a premium over your average keyboard -- each model will set you back $150, with US models available today (UK, German and Nordic versions are promised for January). More here.

Sep 20, 2012

Suitcase Laptop Support Gives You a Standing Desk Wherever You Travel

The next time you've got time to kill at the airport—whether at the hands of inclement weather or a never ending security line—you can still stay productive with this laptop stand that turns your suitcase into a miniature office.

When moored to your suitcase's extended handle it creates a three-legged desk that can support a laptop up to 13 pounds in weight. So as long as you've upgraded your hardware in the last ten years, you should be ok. And when no longer needed the $40 aluminum stand folds away a like a tripod—or a monopod at least—so it won't fill up a plane's overhead compartment during your flight. More here.

Apple’s Shake-To-Charge Patent Trades Calories for Battery Life

Its larger form factor and bigger battery mean the iPhone 5 should last longer on a single charge. But to overcome the fact that battery technology still basically sucks, Apple has applied for a 'shake to charge' patent that uses electromagnetic induction to convert everyday motions into extra battery life.

In Apple's system a small lubricated magnet would move across a series of printed coils inside an iPhone or iPod, inducing a small current which could be used to generate power and charge the battery. What sets Apple's design apart from the various radios and flashlights that already use this approach is the flat coils which can be easily printed using modern circuit production techniques. Just don't expect this to be the flagship feature on the iPhone 5S. Smartphones use far more power than this induction system could ever replenish, even with continuous vigorous shaking. But as their components get more energy efficient, somewhere way down the line this could be a plausible alternative to plugging in your phone every night. More here.

Samsung Building 128GB Flash Memory Chips For Next Year’s Superphones

There might just be a 128GB memory option when it comes to upgrading to the Galaxy S4 next year or the S5 the year after, thanks to Samsung now mass producing 128GB memory chips for use in mobile devices.

Samsung's newest 128GB eMMC NAND chips read data at 140MB/s and can write at up to 50MB/s, plus they're designed to fit the same slimline form factors as its current 16, 32 and 64GB memory chips. No mention's been made of any devices that'll use them yet, so keep your eyes open for a whole new level of onboard storage complete with unprecedented RRPs. More here.

Sep 19, 2012

When Did Handheld Vacuums Get So Beautiful?

If you haven't shopped for a handheld vacuum since the Dustbuster owned the market, you're apparently in for a real treat. Vorwerk's new Kobold VC100 looks like a piece of contemporary art you'll want to frame and hang on your wall, instead of the old lowly workhorses you kept hidden behind a dresser.

It sucks (in the best way possible) for up to 20 minutes on a single charge, but with two suction settings you can probably expect even less cleaning time if you use it full throttle. You will have to fork over almost $170 for this functional masterpiece, but think how much better your life will be with this on display in your living room, and your shirt free of Doritos crumbs. More here.

Toshiba Intros Camileo BW20 Waterproof Camcorder

Toshiba might have missed the summer vacationers by just a bit, but with the beautiful fall season just around the corner in the US, it's that period to introduce a new Camileo to the group. This time out it's the the follow-up to the company's rather colorful BW10 from last year. Enter the adequately named BW20.

Aside from nabbing a numerical bump on its moniker, the BW20 brings the same 1080p video recording found on its predecessor, plus improved waterproof capabilities that now allow the camcorder to handle up to 16 feet below water. Perhaps, the most interesting fact here is the BW20's new price tag, which is now $130 -- 20 bucks less than the BW10. More here.

iOS 6 now Available to Download for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Cupertino's newest hardware may have us purring, but Apple hasn't left those of us with existing hardware out in the cold. iOS 6 should be appearing as an available update right now, or at least very shortly -- depending on how taxed those servers get. It'll be compatible with every iPhone since the 3GS, iPod touch 4G / 5G and this-and-last-year's vintage of the iPad. Given the inexorable march of technology, some of the newer features won't work on the older devices, but you can use ourcompatability checker to determine what new things you'll be able to do in the next few hours. More here.

Sep 18, 2012

Twitter Revamps its iPad App for Expanded Content, Adds Header Photos and ImageStream

Twitter's iPad app is sometimes the neglected stepchild of its mobile app family: newer features usually come to the Android and iPhone versions first and are handed down to the iPad later, if they come at all. The company is making amends for that in style with a major update to the iPad version as of today. Whether you like them or not, expanded tweets are now baked in and will optionally show some photos, videos and web links within the timeline rather than disrupting the entire experience.

You'll soon notice a much more visual spin on people's profiles, regardless of whether or not Apple's slate factors into the daily routine. Both the Twitter site as well as the official Android and iOS apps now show a header photo behind the bio to provide a little more color than avatars and background pictures can manage. If you're on one of the mobile platforms, you'll also see a photo stream in the profile that will help relive memories without hunting down individual tweets. More here.

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Sep 17, 2012

Laser Bike Light Creates Your Own Tron-Like Virtual Lane

The best way to stay safe while biking is to stay visible to those you share the road with. And while concepts for laser-based systems that create a highly visible virtual lane around your bike have existed for years and years, they're finally real (and cheap!) now.

A Korean company called Slancio makes this rear safety light that includes a requisite set of flashing red LEDs, but also a pair of lasers that produce a thin set of lines on the road on either side of your bike. Not only do they add to your visibility at night, they also create a safe space around your bicycle that most drivers and other riders will subconsciously stay clear of. More here.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD Torn Down, Proves an Easy Fix

Interested in what makes your new Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tick? The crew at iFixit certainly is. As is the repair shop's custom, it just tore down Amazon's new reader tablet to gauge its repairability as well as look for any surprises. In the case of the revamped Kindle Fire, the fixable design is the main surprise -- despite being skinnier than its ancestor, the tablet is easy to open and its components (usually) easy to replace. 

The choice of hardware makers, include an LG Display LCD, the expected 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor and Samsung flash memory.  More here.

Sep 16, 2012

PCs no Longer Command Biggest Share of DRAM Market

Times change, this is an indisputable truth. But nothing reminds us of this fact as well as a landmark statistic. If there was ever any doubt about the shift towards of mobile computing, then let this be it: personal computers no longer account for the majority of demand for DRAM chips. With 49 percent of all new memory still headed for PCs, it's hardly time to book the hearse for desk- and laptops just yet, but the statistic from IHS iSuppli remind us of the increasing market share that mobiles and tablets are taking. 

In fact, even though total DRAM shipments for PCs continues to rise, it's estimated that the total share will slip another 6 percent, to 42.8, between Q2 this year and the end of 2013. More here.

Sep 15, 2012

Twitter Might Be Looking To Kill Off Third Party Image Hosts

Twitter's big API changes have been causing all kinds of problems for third party Twitter clients, but they aren't the only ones affected by Twitter's new outlook on life. According to Buzzfeed, third party image hosts are in danger as well.

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering these image hosts are yet another set of sites drawing eyes away from the main Twitter pages, where the ads are. While Twitter can't exactly prevent people from tweeting links to third party services, they can (and are) removing the services from their apps, the apps which have less and less competition as third party ones get pushed to the side. It makes sense; as Twitpic founder told Buzzfeed "They're trying to control those eyeballs on their apps, they're an ad-based company, they make money that way." More here.

This might not be as disastrous as the API changes that are sure to drive some third party clients into the ground, but there's sure to be more to come. This distancing from third party image clients just goes to show that Twitter seems willing to ride this train all the way to the end. Hopefully it won't be stagnant and ad-bloated by the time it gets there. 10% Off Carrot Ink Products Today!

Uros' Goodspeed Hotspot Packs 10 SIM Cards

Snagging international data service usually involves either special agreements or steep roaming costs. Not Uros and its new Goodspeed hotspot. The pocketable, 21Mbps HSPA+ router carries a staggering 10 SIM cards and simply uses a local SIM for whichever destination country you visit. The brute force strategy helps Uros offer a relatively low flat rate for 1GB of data per day, no matter where you are on the coverage map: while the Goodspeed itself costs €273 ($352), Uros asks just €5.90 ($8) a day for occasional visits and €9.90 ($13) a month for frequent fliers. It's a very sizable bargain for the jetset, even with a current scope limited to Finland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. A number of "important" countries are due before Christmas, which could make Uros' hotspot a go-to choice for those who just can't stay settled in one place. More here. Inventory Management Software

Sep 14, 2012

Beautiful Maple or Walnut Bluetooth Keyboards

If gleaming white plastic and brushed aluminum don't suit your fancy when it comes to keyboards, a French design shop called Orée will hand craft you a beautiful alternative made from your choice of either maple or walnut wood. But if you thought keeping your current keyboard clean was a pain, imagine having to sand and re-stain it every year.

At $164 the Orée Board is more than twice what you'll pay for Apple's own wireless Bluetooth keyboard, but you're paying a premium for craftsmanship, the ability to customize the key layout including the font, and of course, the occasional splinter. No pain no gain, right? While Orée promises the utmost precision when it comes to all the keys and their assembly, it's still made of wood which expands and contracts with the temperature and humidity. So depending on the weather it could either look like a beautiful piece of finely crafted art, or a C+ high school shop class project. More here. Halloween

iPhone 5 vs Fake iPhone 5

Instead of comparing the iPhone 5 with competitor devices I thought this comparison deserved more publicity. Don’t mean to burst Apple’s bubble but some of you are better off getting a fake iPhone 5. For one it has better overall specs for half the price. No complaints about the operating system since it runs on Android. More here. Bargain Countdown 468x60

Superheated Steel Balls Make Water Boil Without Bubbles

This is really cool. Scientists have found a way to make water boil without causing any bubbles. How? Drop some superheated, nanoparticle-coated steel into the water.

The phenomenon is based on something called the Leidenfrost effect. That's where water coming in contact with a super hot substance will form a layer of vapor between it and the surface. In this experiment, scientists took steel balls and coated them in nanoparticles that gave them a rough surface. They then heated the balls to 400 degrees Celsius and dropped them into some water. That's where the cool part happens.

Instead of creating a bunch of bubbles around the balls, the layer of vapor created around the steel caused the bubbles that formed to stretch themselves around the ball's rough surface. That meant that the surrounding water was mostly undisturbed. It stayed that way all the way until the balls dropped back under boiling point.

So there you go, water boiling without bubbling up. Fun, mostly-useless-to-your-life, awesome science. More here.

Sep 13, 2012

Intel's Core i3 NUC Mini-Boards set to Hit Market in October

Intel has finalized the specs of its Next Unit of Computing (NUC) board, and announced it'll go on sale in October for less than $400 with a case and power supply. Carrying a 4 x 4-inch form factor between aRaspberry Pi and mini-ITX board, it'll be equipped with a Core i3 Ivy Bridge processor, HD 4000 graphics, two SO-DIMM sockets, an M-SATA slot for an SSD drive, three USB ports, one HDMI port and a mini-PCI slot for wireless connectivity.

Two different models will be offered by the chip giant, identical except that one will be Thunderbolt equipped and the other will sport an ethernet port for connectivity. Originally intended for the kiosk and signage markets, enthusiast interest compelled Intel to put the board on general sale, along with a case (pictured above) and power supply option. That'll pit it against offerings from VIA and others, while offering considerably more oomph in a similar form factor -- though a mini-server slaying Core i5 option originally proposed by Intel was dropped. More here. - Always FREE Shipping!

The Worst Thing About the iPhone 5 Is Also the Most Brilliant

The iPhone 5 is many things. It's a pinnacle of product design. It's a mild annoyance for iOS app developers. It's very probably the next phone you buy. And it's also, by broadconsensus of the people who follow these things, totally boring.

Of course it is. Anything else, at this point, would be insane.

It Ain't Broke

It's easy to forget, with as much emphasis as Apple puts on its biannual show-and-tell extravaganzas, that its primary objective isn't to entertain us. It's to sell iPhones. Millions and millions and millions of iPhones.

The iPhone 5 will be on shelves on September 21st, which is one week before Apple's fiscal year ends and the holiday quarter begins. How important are those three months to Apple's bottom line? Last year during the same period, the iPhone 4S drove Apple's smartphone sales to 37 million units, and an overall profit of $13 billion. To put that in context, that's more money than Google made in all of 2011.

Those numbers aren't just impressive. They're unprecedented. The iPhone is the most valuable asset of one of the most valuable companies in history. So the question we should be asking isn't why didn't Apple make it more exciting. The question is—other than the standard spec and feature bumps—why would Apple change the iPhone at all? There's a reason Coca-Cola's used the same formula for a hundred years.

That's why, when we say the iPhone 5 is boring, we really mean the iPhone 5 is safe. It's familiar. It's the same phone in slightly different packaging. And, most importantly, it's still very recognizably the most popular smartphone in the world. If you've won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, you don't suddenly trade in your thoroughbred for a one-eyed pony because it's more interesting to look at.

Playing It Smart

Not being boring requires taking risks, and risk is not something Apple does. Not anymore. Why would it? It can skip out on 4G for more than a year after its competitors have it and no one blinks an eye. NFC? Wireless charging? Pass, thanks. And Apple will keep playing it safe until iPhone sales decline. That might be boring, but it's also just good business.

And it's always been like this. The original iPhone didn't have 3G. The iPad didn't have a front-facing camera. USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt both came after PCS had embraced high-speed standards. Apple doesn't make products for early adopters. It makes products for the billions of people who buy things they can easily access and understand.

The worst part? In a vacuum the iPhone 5 is actually really exciting. For whatever half-baked features it skips out on, it's still technological marvel, and may well prove to be the best smartphone you can buy. If the worst thing about it is that it's not different enough from a phone that tens of millions of people a month spend hundreds of dollars to buy, well, that's fine.

The Boring Future

The only thing that will change the iPhone's design is a dramatic decline in iPhone market share, but that doesn't seem in the offing. Not any time soon, anyway. It takes years to slow down a juggernaut.

So get comfortable with your boring iPhone and your boring iPad and your boring MacBook Air. They're that way because they have to be. Because we want them to be. Because it's the only way that makes sense. Complete Solution for Business or Home

Sep 12, 2012

Boosted Board Electric Longboard is Lightweight enough to Carry, Powerful Enough to Haul Riders Uphill

Boosted Board isn't the first powered skateboard to grace these pages, but it is the lightest. In its current prototype form, it weighs just 12 pounds, thanks to a high-end Loaded Vanguard longboard, 2,000W brushless electric motor, 100W/h Lithium polymer battery pack and regenerative braking and drivetrain bits. That hardware will move you along at up to 20mph, provide about six miles of range and tackle up to a 15 percent grade.

The company is also evaluating different battery chemistries and cell sizes for folks looking for longer range. The board is capable of much higher speeds, but it's been limited for safety reasons. However, that reservoir of power is put to good use when rolling uphill, as the Boosted Board's got some custom firmware that aims to make cruising up inclines feel the same as riding on flats. Adjusting the speed is accomplished through a custom handheld, thumb-operated throttle that's still in development.

This design is made possible by that power-dense brushless motor, and it allows the Boosted Board to maintain the flexible feel that regular longboarders know and love. More here.

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World's largest QR Code is a Canadian Maize Maze

And why wouldn't it be? That's how the Kraay family of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada gets down, as evidenced by the family's past 13 years of elaborate corn maze designs -- from a logo of the Edmonton Oilers to a 25th anniversary commemoration of Rick Hansen's "Man in Motion" tour. Said QR code sends adventurous scanners to a website for the Kraay's family farm website. The code also got the Kraays into the Guinness Book of World Records for "World's Largest QR Code," which was really what drove this whole project. At approximately 29,000 meters (1.1 square miles), that's quite a bit of carefully crafted corn designing. It's certainly more elaborate than the previously claimed record holder, and a lot more official. More here. Save 10% at!

Sep 11, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III Drops to $99 on Amazon for a 'Very Limited Time Only'

In the market for a Samsung Galaxy S III, but you despise dropping over two figures on electronics? Amazon is snapping up a half price $99 Galaxy S III from Amazon today, where it's on sale "for a very limited time only." Yes, you have to sign up for a new individual or family activation, but at least you can choose between Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T for that new contract. It'll even arrive in two days, per Amazon's free two-day shipping, and there are three different colors of the 16GB version to choose from. Hot dog! More here. 468x60 BTS Coupon

The Tiny Yellow Sticker That Detects Accidents and Alerts Your Emergency Contacts

Expanding on its product line which makes it easy for someone to find your emergency contacts if you're injured, ICEdot (In Case of Emergency) is taking the idea one step further. Working with a company called SenseTech LLC, it's developing a tiny helmet sensor that knows when you've been in an accident, how severe it was, and automatically triggers your phone to call for help.

When it's available sometime next year with an estimated price tag of around $200, the advanced ICEdot monitor will attach to any bike helmet and use motion and impact sensors to intelligently determine if the wearer has been involved in an accident. Using the new Bluetooth low-energy profile it maintains a constant connection to a smartphone app so that when an accident occurs, it can automatically alert the rider's emergency contacts with the time and GPS coordinates of the incident.

And to avoid false positives, since there's always the chance a dropped helmet could be misconstrued as a nasty tumble, the app initiates an emergency countdown which can be manually aborted in the event nothing actually happened. If you ride in a big city where the 'mind your own business' mentality prevails, this could be the perfect accessory if no one comes to your rescue after a crash. More here. Electronics

Sep 10, 2012

Even Toys”R”Us Has a Tablet Now

Toys"R"Us has taken a good long look at the increasingly crowded Android tablet market and decided it wants a minuscule sliver too. So starting October 1st, every child's favorite store will start selling a seven-inch, $150 Android device called the Tabeo (Tabby-oh? Tabe-e-oh?) targeted at younger users.

But what makes the tablet kid-friendly? Besides a custom UI that keeps Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich stripped to the bare necessities, the Tabeo comes pre-installed with 50 different apps that cover everything from games, to educational titles, to ebooks. And its custom app store is promised to offer some 7,000 additional titles, including favorites like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja.

At the moment Toys"R"Us' online store shows the Tabeo available for pre-order with a ship date of October 1st, but the official press release indicates it won't be hitting brick and mortar store shelves until the 21st. With competitors like the MEEP!, Vinci, and LeapPad already targeting kids, this is certainly a sector that might be over-served already. But who knows, maybe Toys"R"Us has managed to build a $150 Android Tablet that's a lesson in something more than abject frustration. More here.