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Short of actually being able to hear, this headwear purportedly mimics every other function of a cat’s ears by reading a steady stream of data from your brain and left earlobe. Tim Moynihan/WIRED
Pogo Sticks of Doom and Other Gems From a Massive Toy Fair
The Toy Fair is exactly what it sounds like. It’s been going on for 111 years, and it’s huge. This year, more than 1,150 toy companies squeezed into New York City’s Javits Convention Center to show off the new things kids will be clamoring for later this year. Toy traditionalists and forward-thinkers have much to get excited about: While apps, robots, and meme-based toys are all trending, plenty of old-school playthings are in the mix, too.
There was plenty for us older “kids” too. A home version of the classic Chexx bubble hockey table from the early 1980s — complete with customizable teams and your very own “Boo” button — was on display at the show. If you’ve always craved a 1965 Volkswagen Camper Van but want to avoid paying for gas, there was an actual-size, four-person Volkswagen Camper Van tent. And if you want to hone your ping-pong skills but don’t have anyone to compete against, the Joola iPong Pro is essentially a table-tennis pitching machine with a 100-ball hopper.
But enough banter. Let’s go look at some toys.
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Even though the iPhone 5s was released a few months ago, we have already seen many rumors for Apple’s next generation iPhone 6. Apple leaker C-Tech, who is either a hit or a miss, posted the photos below of what appears to be the iPhone 6 metal housing.
The photos show the device being very thin, (as rumors have pointed to, perhaps 6mm) making the iPhone Air name rather appropriate. You can also see the larger back frame, lining up to other rumors that the iPhone will feature a larger display around 4.7 to 5 inches.
Obviously the authenticity of these photos cannot be verified, but do you think the images are legit?
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Staples is said to offer only Apple’s latest models — the iPad Air and Retina display-equipped iPad mini — in its stores, rather than the entire iPad lineup, though the older versions remain available for purchase online. The change was first reported by CNET.
Bringing the iPad in-store marks another milestone in Framingham, Mass.-based Staples’s current alliance with Apple, which began last spring when the company started carrying smaller Apple products like the Apple TV and AirPort wireless networking lineup.
The relationship expanded in December with online iPad sales, and it was speculated at the time that Staples would be allowed to carry the tablets in stores if certain performance targets were met. Wednesday’s launch suggests that those targets, which are thought to have included weekly online sales referral quotas for each brick-and-mortar store, were reached.
One item that remains unclear is exactly how the iPad will be marketed in Staples outlets. The tablets are featured on dedicated Apple-designed kiosks in most third-party iPad retailers, and in some cases small “store-within-a-store” arrangements are struck when broader ranges of Apple products are on offer.
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You accidentally left your micro USB charger back at the hotel… 500 miles away. Now it’s time to buy a new one. You pick up a cheapie from your nearest electronics retailer and hey, what gives? What used to take 3 hours to charge now takes 12.
Turns out not all chargers are created equal, even if they look similar. Here are some quick buying guidelines that’ll save you time and ensure you’re using a charger that’s optimized for your device’s power requirements.
First, some background. Charging power is based on three things: power (P, measured in Watts), current (I, measured in amps or milliamps), and voltage (V, measured in volts). The amount of power is determined by the equation P = IV. In other words, power is the product of current multiplied by voltage. Because larger devices like tablets have substantially bigger batteries than smartphones, chargers designed for the former tend to deliver energy at a higher rate (a higher current).
For example, consider these charging scenarios for the Retina iPad mini. You could use a Lightning connector plugged into a computer (via USB), an iPhone charger connected to a wall socket, or an iPad charger connected to a wall socket. A PC USB charger delivers 2.5 Watts of power (5 volts at 500 mA). An iPhone charger delivers 5 Watts (5 volts at 1000 mA). A Retina iPad mini charger delivers 10 watts (5.1 volts at 2100 mA).
While all of these will charge your iPad, using the USB connected to a PC will charge your Retina mini four times slower than if you used the iPad charger it came with. Conversely, if you use a tablet charger for your smartphone, it’d charge up faster than normal (Note: Some devices like the iPhone will only draw up to 1A of current no matter the charger). If you play mix-and-match with these types of chargers like this, don’t worry — you’re not going to blow up your phone or anything crazy like that. And the myth that charging your device at a faster rate will reduce the life of your device’s battery is false. For some older devices, the higher specced charger just won’t work at all, while newer devices will just charge faster.
Ultimately, it’s really the amperage that determines how fast a charger will supply power to your device. If you want quicker charging, look for a wall or car charger that delivers 2100 mA of current at 5 volts (or whatever voltage the device you’re trying to charge is specced at).
If you’re grabbing a new charger off the shelf, there are a couple other things you should consider. One of them is the logo that identifies compliance with international standards. These can be faked. The CE mark is a popular one, and as someone in this forum thread unfortunately discovered, his substandard charger sported a fake CE mark. The C and E in the actual logo should each be approximately a half circle, and if you continued the circle of each letter fully, the two circles would just link together in the middle.
If a charger has incorrect capitalization for the current and power output it’s supposed to deliver (think “MA” instead of “mA,” for milliamps), that could be a sign that the charger isn’t up to snuff too. Having no manufacturer label on the device could also be a red flag.
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Analytics startup Parse.ly has released its third bi-monthly “Authority Report” on Wednesday, and the big finding is that the majority of traffic for some top online publishers still comes via laptop and desktop computers.
The company analyzed the screen sizes of devices that its customers’ readers use to access their content, and found that about 60 percent of all traffic came from devices with screen ratios of 16:9 or 16:10, indicating it came mostly from laptops or desktops. Overall, traffic from mobile devices accounts for between 10 and 20 percent of traffic, peaking at nearly 20 percent in the evenings and with most of it — at least 13.8 percent — coming from Apple iPads or iPhones.
The 2,000 screen sizes driving 99.5 percent of traffic. Source: Parse.ly
This is the third time Parse.ly has released a report on traffic trends. A highlight of its first report was Feedly’s dominance as the reader app of choice in lieu of Google Reader, while its second highlighted the high percentage of traffic coming from so-called dark search. There’s an interactive version of the screen-size chart (and a couple others) available online
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These are some tips on how to improve the battery life of your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS. Some of these tips apply to just iOS 7 but many can be applied to older versions of iOS as well.
Let us know how much your battery life improves in the comments!
Disable Background Application Refresh
iOS 7 brings the ability for apps to refresh their content when on Wi-Fi or cellular and even use location services. To preserve battery life, we recommend disabling Background App Refresh completely. Note that doing this will kill location services for your applications, so you won’t be able to use Navigation in the background – therefore you may want to fine-tune this setting based on your preferences. In addition, you may want to close applications you aren’t using via the Multitasking Switcher (Double press the Home button and swipe an app preview up and out of the list).
● Settings > General > Background App Refresh
Turn Off AirDrop when you’re not using it
You should turn off AirDrop when you do not need it. This prevents you from using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use when the device is in “discoverable” mode. Simply swipe up on control center to turn it off.
● Control Center
Turn Off Automatic Downloads and Updates
iOS 7 brings the ability to automatically update apps, however that works in the background and can take a toll on your battery life. Tap the settings icon, scroll down to iTunes & App Store and turn off all automatic downloads. If you still want automatic app updates, try enabling them while turning off cellular data.
● Settings > iTunes & App Store
Brightness is the most obvious battery-draining cause on the iPhone. Obviously, try to limit and reduce your brightness at all times. Going a step further, you can disable automatic brightness to improve battery life since the phone will no longer check the ambient light and determine the “best” brightness.
● Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness
Control your Push Notifications
Apple’s iOS is designed to in a way preserve battery life when using push notification. That is, the number of push notifications you receive have a minimal effect on battery life. However, when receiving notifications that cause your screen to light up and phone to vibrate, your battery life will be affected. We recommending setting some notifications to not show any alerts. You can set alerts to ‘None’ on a per app basis.
● Settings > Notification Center
Disable Email Push
Push emails immediately send an email or ‘push’ from a server to your phone, rather than requiring you to manually refresh the mail app. You can set the mail application to fetch instead of push, or even better, set to manual for best battery life. You can fine tune this setting for each email account, but for best battery life performance, set all accounts to “Fetch Manually.”
● Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data > Push
iOS 7 brings a new “Frequent Locations” feature. While this new addition can be great for your “Today” tab in Notification Center by giving you an estimated time of arrival to your most visited locations , it can affect battery life. To turn this off, visit
● Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services, then toggle the Frequent Locations to the off position.
iOS has many system location services that check your location to improve compass calibration, cell network search, and more. We recommend turning off most of these system services to improve battery. However, if you use the compass often, or travel often, some settings should be left on such as “Compass Calibration” or “Setting Time Zone.” We leave “Cell Network Search” on as well.
Apps must request approval from you as well. If you really need location services for an app, obviously leave them on. However, you might not want some applications to fetch your locations, so feel free to toggle them off here as well. For instance, if you don’t care for Twitter tweeting your location, turn it off!
Disable Wi-Fi & Bluetooth when not in range, Turn on Wi-Fi when in range
Be sure to always turn off Wi-Fi when you’re out of range of a known network. This prevents the iOS device from constantly checking for known networks in range. Whenever you can use Wi-Fi, use it! Wi-Fi is much more efficient than cellular data so you can save battery this way. Be sure to set Ask to Join Networks off to stay connected to that network. Similarly, be sure to turn off Bluetooth at all times that you can.
● Settings > Wi-Fi
● Settings > Bluetooth
Disable Cellular Data
If you don’t care for using cellular data for some apps and services, turn them off. iOS has many different toggles for cellular data use and some are hidden, so be sure to check all of them listed below!
iOS 7 brings a nice parallax effect on icons and alerts, but this constantly tracks your motion to provide the effect. Reduce motion to prevent this and improve battery life.
● Settings > General > Accessibility > Reduce Motion
Don’t use Dynamic Moving Wallpapers
iOS 7 comes with dynamic wallpapers that move around based on the movement of your device. These moving backgrounds consume much more battery power than regular wallpapers so we recommend that you stay away from them and use Still wallpapers.
● Settings > Wallpapers & Brightness > Choose Wallpaper
Disable Siri Raise to Speak
Disable Siri’s raise to speak function to prevent the iPhone from constantly checking the proximity sensor to see if the device has been raised to your ear.
● Settings > General > Siri
Turn Off Spotlight Search to prevent file indexing
Spotlight indexes your entire device’s filesystem to provide instant search results of your most used contacts, apps and more. Indexing can cause a strain on the battery life, so try to turn OFF any items on the list that you don’t use to prevent the OS from indexing that type of data.
● Settings > General > Spotlight Search
Having your phone constantly vibrate can affect battery life as well, but having a vibrate feature is extremely useful. Try to disable vibrate for some contacts/notifications/text messages.
● Settings > Sounds
If you’re in a 4G Area only, we recommend turning off LTE connectivity. Leaving LTE on actually drains the battery by constantly checking for an LTE signal (and if your carrier does not have LTE in your area, this is a waste). Similarly, if you’re in a 2G area only, disable 4G/LTE connectivity as well.
However, if you are in an LTE area, we recommend leaving LTE on since Apple actually cites better browsing (in hours) on LTE versus 4G connectivity.
Set Auto-Lock to 1 Minute to reduce the amount of time it takes for the iPhone’s display to shut off. Better yet, always lock the device immediately after use to prevent the ~1 minute your display would be on.
● Settings > General > Auto-Lock
Use Airplane Mode when in an area without cellular service
If you’re in a known dead zone that has no cellular service, turn on Airplane mode until your reach an area with cellular service. This prevents the phone from constantly checking for a signal, and can be a main cause of battery drain.
Turn off iTunes Wi-Fi Sync in iTunes
If you don’t use Wi-Fi Sync, and often leave your iTunes open on the same network as your iPhone, turn off Wi-Fi sync.
Turn off Home Sharing
Streaming a movie or song from a computer to your iOS device can cause a huge battery drain. We recommend not using home sharing at all unless it is a feature you really like.
● Settings > Music
● Settings > Video
Set up as new iPhone
If you previously had a jailbreak, and no longer have one, try setting up an iPhone as new instead of restoring form backup. This way you don’t restore unnecessary files.
Some users claim that turning off iPod equalizer will improve battery life, but in our tests (and others across the web) this does not seem to be the case. But if you really want to, turn off equalizer.
● Settings > Music > EQ
Limit Ad Tracking
There are some reports that limiting ad tracking might improve your battery life. You may want to experiment with this setting to determine if it makes a difference on your device.
● Settings > Privacy > Advertising > Limit Ad Tracking
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Each week, there are dozens of Apple rumors, reports, and patent filings that hint at what’s coming out of Cupertino next. Some are legit, but most are totally bogus. We’ve parsed the week’s rumors, ranking them in order from “utterly ridiculous” to “duh, of course.” First up…
ASK AGAIN LATER: Apple Inventing Solar Charging Accessory Apple’s been dabbling in the solar power game for a while — at least according to its intellectual property filings. The company’s latest invention to come out of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is a solar panel accessory that doesn’t need a power converter and would work with a MacBook, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch via USB or a power connector. They key part of the patent is the power management circuitry, which could be embedded in the device itself. Could we start seeing partially solar powered devices or accessories from Apple in the not too distant future? It’s definitely possible.
ASK AGAIN LATER: Retina iPad Mini Could Launch November 21 Target.com let slip in a product listing that the iPad mini with Retina display would be released November 21, a week before Thanksgiving. This particular release date is interesting — Apple usually releases products on a Friday (like the iPad Air, which just went on sale today). However, with holiday travel, Black Friday, and all that jazz, it could make sense for Apple to give iPad mini admirers some extra time before the weekend officially lands to get their hands on the new tablet. Or maybe the 21st isn’t the real date after all.
SIGNS POINT TO YES: Job Listing Indicates Apple Working on Maps’ Transit Directions It’s about time: Two job listing seem to show that Apple is working on adding transit directions to Apple Maps. The positions are “Maps Public Transit Engineering Manager” and “Public Transit Software Engineer,” and both would (logically) work on the Maps team to improve its “Transit Routing” platform. If it wants to be competitive with mapping app leaders like Google, transit directions are a must. It makes complete sense that Apple would want to beef up its team on this front.
WITHOUT A DOUBT: Apple Experimenting With Curved Glass Wrist-Worn Devices According to The New York Times, Apple is exploring a wristwatch-like device made of curved glass. Between the company’s recent wearables-related hires, other whispers from employees and suppliers, and CEO Tim Cook’s frequent teases, it’s almost a given that Apple is working on some sort of wearable device. Apple has also patented a means for bending glass, providing evidence the company is taking some time to explore the curved glass space. (Corning has been working on curved Gorilla Glass for a while now too). As for when we’ll see these devices and what they’ll look like, that’s still anyone’s guess
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Good keynote from Brad Anderson: Cloud Optimize Your Business with Microsoft Management Solutions
- MP3 (Audio only)
- MP4 (iPod, Zune HD)
- Mid Quality WMV (Lo-band, Mobile)
- High Quality MP4 (iPad, PC)
- Mid Quality MP4 (WP7, HTML5)
- High Quality WMV (PC, Xbox, MCE)
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Analyst Shaw Wu expects “vintage conservative” guidance from Apple ahead of their quarterly earnings report this Thursday. While he still expects Apple to have a big holiday quarter, he believes that Apple will partially absorb quality control costs associated with the iPhone 5.
Beyond the iPhone 5, Wu believes that Apple’s margins will also be pushed lower by the anticipated launch of a smaller 7.85-inch iPad. He expects Apple will sell its so-called “iPad mini” at lower margins than the full-size iPad, at least initially, allowing the company to achieve a lower price point and take on competitors like the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7
Wu expects Apple to sell 25-26 million iPhones, 16.5 million iPads, and 4.8 million Macs. Wu believes Apple’s near-term gross margins will be between 40.5 percent and 41.5 percent, slightly lower than Wallstreet’s estimate.
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The much rumored iPad mini will be produced in Brazil; although, testing to collect data for the cutting machine has already been done in China, reports Macotakara.
Citing a ‘reliable source’ the production phase for the new iPad will begin in September and the tablet will ship in time for the holidays. The iPad mini appears to have a 3G model; however, their sources says not all carriers are found in the list of resellers.
This source, who seems to look a prototype, told that new tablet (iPad mini?) had same height with Nexus 7 and slight larger width. Even though front projection size is larger than rivals, thickness of that new tablet is considered to be thinner than current most thinnest tablet Kindle Fire, and to be similar with iPod touch (4th generation) by this source.
Both the WSJ and Bloomberg have also reported that Apple intends to launch an iPad mini this year.
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