(You're reading all posts by John Brownlee) John Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.
About John Brownlee
Yesterday, we reported that Foxconn CEO Terry Gou had promised shareholders that the Chinese iPhone manufacturer was ready to deploy an army of 10,000 robots to help build the iPhone 6.
But while that report seems accurate, don’t expect these so-called Foxbots to completely replace humans on the assembly line. As it turns out, the iPhone 6 is going to require way too much finesse to assemble for a mere robot to do it all.
Siri does many things, not all of them as well as others. But one thing she’s really great at is reminders: Tell Siri to remind you to call your Mom on her birthday every year, and you’ll never have to worry about it again.
While Siri is great at reminding you to do things, though, one thing she can’t do is remind you to remember things. But there’s no reason she can’t, and it would make an absolutely killer feature.
AirDrop, the wireless file sharing technology built into OS X, is fantastic when it works for the occasional file, but it can be a bit finicky.
For power users who constantly find themselves sharing files online, we recommend Dropzone, a great little Mac App that can significantly boost the ease with which you share files between computers, and drag-and-drop files in general.
Now, Dropzone has gotten even better. With Dropzone 3, the app gains a new Drop Bar for temporarily storing files, AirDrop support, as well as integration with Imgur.
For years now, Foxconn has been expressing its interest in replacing its workers with robots, raising the possibility that future iPhones could be built with machines. In fact, in December of 2012, Foxconn quietly began testing a program to replace human workers with iPhone-building robots.
But now, it appears that Foxconn is hitting the accelerator on the program. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has just told shareholders that they will be deploying some 10,000 “Foxbots” to start building iPhones soon.
Are you the kind of nostalgic soul who looks back at the Underwood, Remington, and Smith-Corona typewriters of yesteryear and sigh plaintively? Yet are you simultaneously a modern tech nerd, who couldn’t go without the conveniences afforded by an iPad or iMac? Well, then, the Qwerkywriter — an 84-key keyboard that looks just like a vintage typewriter — might be just the thing for you.
The iPhone 6 is promising to be thinner, lighter and have a bigger, brighter display than any iPhone before… but no matter how advanced the next iPhone is, rumors still peg it as sucking the juice it needs to run through a Lightning cable.
Meanwhile, there are tons of Android and Windows Phone smartphones that charge using wireless technology. When is Apple going to catch up?
This concept by designer Vishal Bhaunushali for what he calls the iPhone 6 Pro imagines an iPhone that wirelessly charges when placed in close proximity to an aluminum, Apple-branded puck, similarly to most current wireless charging solutions.
And even cooler? He imagines a Smart iView cover that not only protects the screen of your iPhone, but can show you the current date, time and charge level of your iPhone, without ever waking up the device.
Check out the full video below.
Siri. You love her or hate her. For many of us, Siri is a novelty at best, and an inconvenience at worst: the annoying voice who starts asking you what you want from your back pocket when you accidentally sit on your iPhone. But for those who love Siri, she can be a lifesaver … literally. Because Siri may have just helped a 2-year-old save her mother’s life.
Back in January, a Seattle-based Etsy seller started mocking up iPad cases designed to look like Trapper Keepers, Mead’s line of brightly colored, wonderfully designed 80’s folders and binders for students. We promptly declared it the best idea in the frickin’ universe, and lamented that you couldn’t actually buy them, due to licensing issues.
Well, good news, fans. Official Trapper Keeper iPad cases are now here. But they’re honestly a little less cool than the mock-ups we saw before.
Since it was first released as part of iOS 6, Apple Maps has gotten a partially deserved bad rap. Although nowhere near as bad as it was at release, Apple Maps has a reputation for being unreliable compared to options like Google Maps.
One thing that was particularly frustrating about Apple Maps at release was the fact that while the app invited users to report incorrect locations and results, nothing ever seemed to happen with those reports. So if Apple gave you incorrect directions, it might take months for the error to be fixed.
But a thread on Reddit offers what appears to be conclusive proof that Apple has gotten its act together about Maps. According to the thread, Apple is now pushing through error corrections in Apple Maps on a daily basis.
With iOS 7, Apple already has the best anti-theft software protection of any smartphone in the business. If you lose your iPhone, or it’s stolen, you can easily use Find My iPhone to see where it’s last reported coordinates are, and send a beep and a message to the device. And thanks to Activation Lock, unless someone knows your pin, they can’t even wipe the phone, effectively meaning that thieves who steal iPhones can’t do anything with it except strip it for parts.
But while iOS gives great protection to owners from thieves, it also inadvertently “protects” them from the good Samaritans who might want to return a lost or stolen device to its proper owner. That’s not the way it has to be, though, as this excellent ‘Good Samaritan’ concept proves.