(You're reading all posts by Luke Dormehl) Luke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.
About Luke Dormehl
With a great quarter behind Apple and massive refreshes of both iOS and OS X in the near future (along with a little something called the iPhone 6) Tim Cook is unlikely to have a lack of things to crow about during today’s earnings call.
If he is, however, maybe he can bring up the fact that – despite increased competition – the iPad is still driving a massive majority of tablet web usage, as measured through ad impressions.
The data was collected by research firm Chitika Insights, who sampled tens of millions of U.S. and Canadian ad impressions between July 1 and 7 this year. They found that the iPad accounts for 78.0% of all tablet ad impressions — up from the 77.2% the iPad represented back in April, and one of the largest quarter-over-quarter increases for any tablet brand.
A pretty sketchy rumor coming out of China claims that the new model iPad mini 3 might borrow the “Air” moniker of its bigger brother, and be a whopping 30 percent thinner than its predecessor.
The report also claims that this new iPad mini Air will rely on the as-yet-unnannounced A8 processor currently manufactured by TSMC.
Build it and they will come!
Crowdfunding has been one of the best things to happen to entrepreneurs since the invention of the IPO. It's been pretty great for technophiles, too, giving us the chance to get involved with exciting projects at the earliest stage possible. Scouring through the pages of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, we've put together a list of the eight most tantalizing projects we've seen so far. What are they? Peruse our gallery to find out.
Picture: William Hall Raine/Flickr
SITU smart food scale
SITU is an attractive Bluetooth food scale that talks to your iPad. Created by former Apple employee Michael Grothaus — who came up with the idea while sitting in Apple’s Caffè Macs cafeteria — the device lets you see the exact nutritional content of any food you place on it, based on the food’s weight and broken down into calories, sugar, salt, protein, vitamins and minerals. The device itself is beautiful, too, with a simple but pleasing design that could have come straight out of Jony Ive’s workshop.
Preorders will be available on SITU’s official site next month.
Lunecase smart iPhone case
“This one weird trick” is usually a cue you’re in a part of the Internet where somebody is trying to convince you a British woman figured out a way to nab a new iPhone for just $10, or a guy worked out a totally safe steroid substitute doctors don’t want you know about. Not so in the case of Lunecase.
This iPhone case's one weird trick isn’t massively useful, but it is pretty cool nonetheless: Lunecase uses your device’s electromagnetic radiation to tell you of alerts you receive, then lights up the appropriate symbol on back to show if you’re getting a phone call or text message. Currently available for pre-order.
Elevation iPhone Dock
Milled from solid aluminum, the Elevation is the iPhone dock we wish Apple would make. What does it have over other docks? Attractive design, physical weight and an easy docking/undocking function, to name a few positives. There have been several versions since the first iteration of the Elevation Dock, but this is one crowdfunding project that definitely connected with the crowd needed to support it. Currently available for sale through its official website.
Apple is looking to out-feature this smartwatch with its long-awaited iWatch, but the Pebble is still a great device that works perfectly with your iPhone. Originally asking for just $100,000 on Kickstarter, the Pebble project ended up raking in a massive $10,266,845 in backer support. From its seamless integration with iOS — for notifications and easy control of iTunes and the like — to its own dedicated watch apps, Pebble is one of the best smartwatches to date.
How good is it? Even if the iWatch can do everything it’s rumored to do, I can still see why some users would stick with the Pebble.
Have you heard the one about Neil Young’s high-definition iPod? I’ll admit I chuckled when I heard about the PonoPlayer, as did a lot of people, but few were laughing when the project racked up $6,225,354 in backer support against a stated goal of $800,000. With "Pono" being a Hawaiian word for “righteous” or “pureness,” the PonoPlayer hopes to deliver the same kind of leap from today’s MP3s that we saw when cassette tapes made way for CDs.
Young’s goal is that our "cultural history should be preserved for enjoyment of the people in its highest possible form forever.” And despite the PonoPlayer's slightly wacky design, he’s convinced it's the tool to accomplish it. Pono will soon begin shipping more than 15,000 PonoPlayers to its Kickstarter backers.
MagBak iPad mount
Is there any more obvious sign of the increasing role computers are playing in our lives than the fact that we now use them in the kitchen? Even 20 years ago, the idea that we would want to expose our laptops or desktops to the same surface we were chopping meat and onions on would have seemed preposterous. If you’re anything like me, that changed the moment the iPad came along, and you got used to being able to watch TV or check out a recipe while you were cooking. The MagBak, a super-thin iPad case that lets you magnetically stick your tablet to your fridge door, is particularly great for this application. It’s a neat design and works excellently.
Available in several versions for Apple’s various iPads, the MagBak is available for sale through its official website, priced at $39.
One of the biggest — and arguably most controversial — crowdfunding campaigns was for the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset. One of the biggest because it saw backers pledge $2,437,429 against a $250,000 goal; one of the most controversial because after that influx of capital from the well-meaning public, the Oculus' creators promptly sold pit to Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook empire for the grand sum of $2 billion.
Everyone, with the conspicuous absence of Apple (for now!), is announcing VR projects today. With possible applications in everything from video games to movies, it’s looking like one of the most exciting paradigm shifts to hit tech in years.
As for Oculus’ current status? We’re waiting for the second big iteration, but Oculus VR is currently cracking down on people looking to turn a profit by selling their preordered devices before they even ship.
Duet Bluetooth tag
Compared to the world of virtual reality promised by Oculus, a device that makes your phone beep when you lose it sounds pretty minor. But just because a device solves a relatively run-of-the-mill, commonplace problem doesn’t mean there’s no demand for it. The Duet's Indiegogo campaign proved that perfectly, when it surged past its $5,000 goal by 2,137 percent to raise $106,830.
The Duet is a smart Bluetooth tag that watches out for your iPhone. Working with the PROTAG app, the tag attaches to your key chain, bag or wallet and then searches for your smartphone (or vice versa), allowing you to quickly and easily find whichever of your precious personal belongings have been misplaced. At time of writing, backers have started receiving their devices.
In what is quite possibly the strongest indication to date that Apple has been working on a smart watch for some time, on Tuesday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published an Apple patent related to a “Wrist-worn electronic device” referred to as iTime.
The patent was first filed back in 2011, and describes a device reminiscent of the Pebble smart watch – which would act as a notifications system for other Apple devices such as your iPhone and iPad, with information communicated wirelessly between these devices by way of Bluetooth. Alerts such as phone calls, text messages, and push notifications could be sent to your watch, with the user then made aware of these by way of audio, visual, or vibration cues.
Everyone knows that Apple does a stellar job of getting its users to upgrade to its latest version of iOS, but how does it do at convincing customers to buy its latest iPhones and iPads, rather than settling for cheaper older models?
Very well, and getting better all the time, according to new market research from the Chicago-based Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Looking at consumer data for the calendar quarter which ended June 30, CIRP noted that the flagship iPhone 5s accounted for an impressive 62 percent of total iPhone sales in the quarter, while the iPad Air took 52 percent of all iPad sales in the quarter. Why is this significant?
The iPhone 6 could include a MacBook-style light-up logo, according to new photos uncovered by renowned Apple leaker Sonny Dickson.
The photos show an apparent iPhone 6 case, with a thin plastic space that would allow for a light to shine out. While nothing concrete suggests this, if true the light could be used to indicate at a glance what type of notification a user was receiving at any moment — perhaps pulsating white for a call, or flashing blue for a text message or Twitter update.
Best Buy is living up to its name with yet another Apple-related special offer. This time the deal in question concerns iTunes vouchers.
If you’re looking to pick up a $100 iTunes Gift Card, Best Buy is selling them for just $85 — representing a reduction of $15, with free shipping thrown in to make the deal that much better.
Called Dropu, his new iOS game is – as Fonseca describes it – what would happen “if Tetris and Sudoku had a baby.” As with Tetris, blocks fall from the sky and it’s your job as player to make sequences of them in order to clear lines.
Apple is set to open a new brick-and-mortar retail store at the Paradise Walk mall in China’s Jiangbei District of Chongqing, according to Apple’s official retail website.
The store will open at 10am local time on Saturday, July 26, and will represent the company’s eleventh Apple Store in China: the first of several that will be opening in 2014 and 2015.
Getting into the streaming TV business might be all the rage right now, but it’s far from an easy game to play. (Which is why Tim Cook referred to Apple TV as “a hobby” for so long.)
Proof positive of this is Qplay, the Internet video-device and iPad app startup launched by the founders of TiVo, which has announced that it’s closing shop less than six months after launching its debut product.