Next-Generation Apple TV Said to Launch in October for $149 or $199

Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV will be released in October with a starting price of $149 or $199, according to 9to5Mac. The report claims that Apple will also continue selling the third-generation Apple TV for $69 as an entry-level device, although the set-top box is not expected to have support for an App Store or Siri.

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The report adds that Apple’s much-rumored streaming TV service will be available “as soon as next year” through a software update for both the third-generation and fourth-generation Apple TV. The web-based TV service is expected to deliver a lightweight package of about 25 channels for between $30 and $40 per month.

The new Apple TV is rumored to feature a dual-core A8 processor, an App Store with a native SDK for developers, Siri voice control, HomeKit integration, a new user interface and a redesigned remote control with motion sensors, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom and a microphone.

Apple is expected to announce the new Apple TV at its September 9th media event.









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Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper

There are hundreds of different stylus options available for the iPhone and the iPad, but that hasn’t stopped new company Stilo Co. from introducing a fresh take on the stylus. The battery-powered Stilo is a fine-tipped stylus designed to pair with a Precision Film to replicate the feel of writing on paper with a pen.

According to the company, the purpose behind the Stilo is to create a more “complete and organic” iPhone and iPad writing experience with a writing utensil that’s universally compatible with existing sketching and drawing apps in the App Store. It also works with all different touchscreen devices, from the iPhone and iPad (including iPad Air 2) to Android devices.

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Stilo Co. invited us to go hands-on with the Stilo, so we took them up on their offer to see how the Stilo measures up to competing styluses and how well it mimics the pen-and-paper experience.

Design and Features

The main draw of the Stilo is its small 1.9mm tip, which allows for more accuracy when writing on a capacitive screen because you can see what you’re doing. In comparison to a standard pen, it’s thicker and heavier to accommodate the AAA battery that powers it.

It’s thicker than a lot of other styluses I’ve used, and I’d say it compares most closely to a marker. It’s not exactly uncomfortable to use, but it does get tiresome after long periods of time (upwards of a half hour), resulting in hand cramping and soreness. Some weight in a stylus is appropriate for a smooth pen-like writing experience, but the weight of the Stilo is not ideal – it feels too heavy with too much weight towards the bottom.

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The Stilo weighs 30 grams. In comparison, the Adonit Jot Script weighs 19 grams, a standard Sharpie weighs 8 grams, and a Bic pen weighs 4.6 grams. Thickness and weight preference for a writing utensil is going to vary by person. If you prefer weightier pens that are on the thicker side, the Stilo could be a good fit.
Continue reading Stilo Review: This Stylus and Screen Protector Duo Aims to Emulate the Feel of Writing on Paper

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Apple TV Said to Have Motion Sensitive Remote Control Targeted at Casual Gamers

appletvremoteIn a report corroborating several oft-rumored features of the next-generation Apple TV, including an A8 chip and a native SDK for creating apps, TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino has revealed that the set-top box will also have a motion sensitive remote control with multi-axis sensors, a touchpad on the top, physical buttons on the bottom and a microphone for Siri.

Panzarino claims the redesigned remote control will likely be targeted at casual gamers:

A game controller with a microphone, physical buttons, a touchpad and motion sensitive controls would be extremely capable. While Apple is likely going to target the broad casual gaming market, I would not be shocked to see innovative gameplay blossom from that type of input possibility. Think, for instance, of multi-player gaming with several people using voice input, or many popular genres of party games that would do far better on the TV than on an iPad or iPhone.

A new Apple TV with an App Store and easy-to-use controller could lure a significant number of casual gamers away from competing platforms such as Nintendo, in the same way that smartphones have undermined other handheld gaming devices. Coupled with on-demand movies and TV shows, home automation and a streaming TV service, the new Apple TV could dominate the living room.

Almost instantaneously, the Apple TV will no longer be Apple’s “hobby” product.

If Apple did indeed ‘delay’ the Apple TV from being released at WWDC, then it probably had a reason. And, if my sources are correct, that reason could well be polish, polish, polish. The experience of using it is said to blow away the types of junky smart TV interfaces we’ve had to deal with so far. This is the first real Apple TV product.

Apple is expected to announce the new Apple TV at its September 9th media event.









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Currys and PC World Gearing Up to Sell Apple Watch in UK

MacRumors has learned that British electronics retailer Currys, which co-brands some locations as Currys and PC World, has added the Apple Watch to its internal inventory system as it gears up to begin selling the wrist-worn device.

Currys and PC World has a large presence throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, with a combined 295 superstores and 73 high street stores in both countries. It remains unclear how many of those locations will be carrying the Apple Watch.

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When searching for the Apple Watch on the Currys website, a banner informs customers that the device is “currently not available at Currys and PC World” and advertises a range of smartwatches from Sony, Motorola, LG, Pebble and others.

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Apple has been expanding Apple Watch availability beyond Apple Stores over the past few months. Best Buy in the U.S. began selling the Apple Watch in early August, followed by Best Buy in Canada, Harvey Norman and Myer in Australia and Fnac in France.









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Intel’s Skylake Processor Lineup for Retina MacBook Revealed

Following a closer look at Intel’s upcoming Skylake processor lineup for the MacBook Air, CPU World has shared new details about sixth-generation Core M chips appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook. Intel reportedly may brand the low-power Skylake-Y chips as Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 based on performance.

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The low-end Core m3 6Y30 has a 900 MHz dual-core processor with Turbo Boost up to 2.2 GHz. The chip has 4MB of L3 cache, HD 515 graphics, a maximum GPU frequency of 850 MHz and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP). This chip would likely be suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299.

The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 are similar chips with 1.1 GHz dual-core processors and Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz and 2.8 GHz respectively, 4MB of L3 cache, HD 515 graphics, a maximum GPU frequency of 900 MHz and 4.5 watt TDP. These chips would likely be suited for the high-end stock model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599.

The high-end Core m5 6Y75 is a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz, 4MB of L3 cache, HD 515 graphics, a maximum GPU frequency of 1 GHz and 4.5 watt TDP. This chip would be suited for the top of the line 12-inch MacBook model that carries a $150 premium over systems with the high-end stock chip.

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CPU World shared further details about the processor specifications, noting that Core M chips can be run at 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz for the current 12-inch MacBook lineup.

All chips have up to 2 SATA 6Gb/s ports, 10 lanes of PCI-Express interface, 6 USB2/USB3 ports and eMMC 5.0 interface. They support USB OTG and Rapid Storage Technology 14. The Core m microprocessors work with DDR3L-1600 and LPDDR3-1866 memory, and they are rated at 4.5 watt TDP and 3 watt SDP. They can also run at higher 7 watt TDP if needed.

Last month, a leaked Intel slide deck revealed that “Y” series Skylake processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will have up to 17% faster CPU performance, up to 41% faster Intel HD graphics and up to 1.4 hours longer battery life compared to current-generation Core M architecture.

Intel’s sixth-generation Core M processors are expected to launch next month, possibly at the IFA Berlin trade show this September 4-9.









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iHome’s iSP5 SmartPlug Is Far From Perfect, But It’s a Cheap Way to Give HomeKit a Try

iHome’s iSP5 SmartPlug is one of the first five HomeKit-compatible devices on the market, and it’s the most affordable option for Apple users who are looking to try out the company’s home automation platform. The SmartPlug is a simple device that plugs right into any outlet, transforming any appliance – from lights to fans – into an iPhone-controlled Siri-compatible smart product using WiFi.

We tested out three of iHome’s SmartPlugs, simulating what it might be like to control lights and fans across multiple rooms to turn an ordinary home with ordinary outlets into a smart home with a reasonable monetary investment and a bit of time.

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As with the Elgato Eve review I did earlier this summer, using the iHome SmartPlugs makes it clear that there are still a lot of issues that need to be resolved with HomeKit and Apple’s HomeKit partner companies, but at the $40 price point, I can recommend the SmartPlug to anyone curious about HomeKit who has the patience to deal with bugs that can range from minor inconveniences to frustrations that make you want to toss your SmartPlug across the room in anger.

Hardware Overview

The iSP5 SmartPlug is a no-frills device that plugs into any outlet within the home to transform it into a WiFi-connected outlet. Each SmartPlug connects individually to a home’s WiFi network, so a central bridge is not required. SmartPlugs are rectangular in shape and fairly compact — small enough that two can be plugged in next to each other in a single 120v wall outlet.

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Setting up the SmartPlugs is as simple as plugging them in and downloading the iHome Control app. From there, a WiFi network needs to be confirmed within the app and the HomeKit code supplied with each SmartPlug needs to be entered to register the devices with HomeKit and an iCloud account.
Continue reading iHome’s iSP5 SmartPlug Is Far From Perfect, But It’s a Cheap Way to Give HomeKit a Try

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Apple Joins Massive Pentagon Partnership to Develop High-Tech Military Wearables

The Pentagon today announced a partnership with 162 companies and universities — including Apple, Boeing, and Harvard — to develop and produce a line of high-tech military gear designed to be flexible enough to be worn by both soldiers and even be “molded onto the outside of a jet” (via Reuters). The forward thrust of consumer technology is generating more trust for the Pentagon in the companies of Silicon Valley, a move that Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been attempting to guide for a few years.

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“I’ve been pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box and invest in innovation here in Silicon Valley and in tech communities across the country,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in prepared remarks on Friday.

“Now we’re taking another step forward.”

The new technology would use advanced printing processes to produce “stretchable electronics” that would be outfitted with an array of sensors to be able to track everything from the vitals of the soldier wearing it to the structural integrity of the ship or warplane to which it is attached. All told, the United States government has confirmed it will contribute $75 million over the course of five years for the project, with the partnered companies offering another $90 million, and local government contributions bringing the grand total to just north of $171 million.









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Beats 1 Lead Executive Ian Rogers Leaves Apple

Apple Music senior director and former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers has resigned from Apple nearly two months after the launch of the streaming music service, the company confirmed to the Financial Times today.

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Rogers was among a group of executives that joined Apple last year when the iPhone maker acquired Beats for $3 billion. Rogers’s official title was Senior Director of Apple Music, a position he held since August 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Rogers, who served as Beats Music CEO between January 2013 and August 2014, departed Apple to join an undisclosed “Europe-based company in an unrelated industry” on the west coast. He is credited for hiring Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe, who worked at BBC Radio 1 from 2002 to 2015.

Beats 1 is a 24/7 streaming radio station built into Apple Music, featuring a mix of the latest music and guest appearances from artists such as Drake, Dr. Dre, The Weeknd, Eminem, Pharrell Williams and others.









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