Cult of Mac Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers [Updated]

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Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.

Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.

Today, we’re looking at last-minute stocking stuffers. To be honest, if you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, you should really be out hitting the malls today. But seeing as you’re here reading this instead, here are a few ideas.

Google Continues To Streamline Motorola In A Bid To Beat The iPhone

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Google doesn't have time to focus on products like this. It has an iPhone to beat.

Google is gearing up to offload Motorola’s set-top box business as it looks to concentrate its efforts on competing with Apple’s iPhone. The company has been trying to sell Motorola Home Business, which supplies set-top boxes to cable television providers, for around $2 billion, and it has reportedly received multiple offers already. Once it’s gone, Google will focus on high-end smartphones.

Could Tim Cook’s New Made-In-USA Mac Actually Be An Apple TV? [Rumor]

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Apple's biggest manufacturing partner making preparations to turn this thing into a reality.
Apple's biggest manufacturing partner making preparations to turn this thing into a reality.

On Tuesday I went to a party at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord to celebrate the launch of Fuze For Mac, a nifty cloud-based videoconferencing tool from FuzeBox.

I heard several interesting things about Steve Jobs and some intriguing Apple TV rumors. One of the rumors made me think that Tim Cook’s new Mac — the one that is going to be made in the U.S.A. — might actually be a big-screen Apple TV.

Here’s what I heard:

  • The software was developed at the behest of Steve Jobs himself, who persuaded FuzeBox to make the software not just for the Mac, but for an upcoming Apple TV.
  • Steve Jobs gave the company a special dev lab on Apple’s campus.
  • According to FuzeBox’s CEO, the upcoming Apple TV has a 60-inch screen. It has no inputs whatsoever, except an AC power cord. No wires. You can’t plug in a cable box or a game console. Nothing.
  • It does have Gigabit wireless Wi-Fi and gesture controls, equivalent to Microsoft’s Kinect accessory for the Xbox.
  • And finally, the story of how FuzeBox got an ultra rare meeting with Steve Jobs is worth telling — details below.

Now, I’m the first to admit that not all of this adds up. I got it from Jeff Cavins, FuzeBox’s CEO, who told a good tale, especially after I’d had a couple of pints. While I was fascinated and entertained, it didn’t get to pin him down on details. The party was loud and crowded, and we were constantly interrupted. So mostly for entertainment purposes, this is what he said:

The Apple Television Isn’t As ‘Imminent’ As Some Would Have You Believe

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Apple's television is still some way off.
Apple's television is still some way off.

On Thursday, Jefferies analyst James Kisner revealed that the much-anticipated Apple television, the product we’ve been talking about for well over a year, is almost ready to make its big debut. In fact, Kisner said its launch was “imminent.”

According to sources for AllThingsD, however, it’s not quite as close as Kisner would have you believe. While Apple has indeed held talks with a number of large cable companies, it seems it hasn’t yet spoken to TV programmers. With that in mind, it seems the Apple television is some way off just yet.

Time Warner Says They Would Let Apple Have Complete Control Over TV Interface

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While Apple still hasn’t released a full-fledged television, rumors have been circulating that they might be working on a cable set-top box for cable providers as well. The big question has been whether or not cable providers would allow Apple to come in and take control of the TV experience.

According to Time Warner Cable’s COO, they’d be more than happy to let Apple come in and have control of the TV interface if it makes the customers’ experience better.

Apple Now Selling Lightning To Micro USB Adapter For Europe

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How much?!?!
How much?!?!

Following the unveiling of the iPhone 5 and a new family of iPods on Wednesday, Apple has begun selling a new Lightning to Micro USB adapter for customers in Europe. As its name suggests, the adaptor allows users to charge and sync their new iOS device using a Micro USB cable — in compliance with the rules laid out by European Commission.

iPhone 5’s New Dock Connector To Be Called ‘Lightning’, New Earphones Called ‘Earpod’ [Rumor]

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In today's forecast: Lightning!
In today's forecast: Lightning!

Wondering what Apple will call its new dock connector? No, it won’t be the “9-pin connector” — this is Apple we’re talking about, the company behind the Thunderbolt port. Instead, it’s expected to be labeled “Lightning,” and the kooky names don’t stop there. The Cupertino company is also expected to unveil a new set of earphones at its iPhone 5 event today, which will reportedly be called “Earpod,” along with a new iPod touch accessory called the “Loop.”

Do You Think Apple Really Needs To Make A HDTV? [Let’s Talk]

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But it won't have any more pixels than your existing set.
But it won't have any more pixels than your existing set.

Information about the fabled iTV has been bouncing around the rumor-mill for a few years now. Supposedly, Apple is going to build an HDTV that has a ton of cool features, such as Siri, FaceTime, iTunes Streaming, iCloud and the works. It’s a dream device. Like a big ass iPad you can mount on your wall to watch the series finale of Breaking Bad on.

The iTV was supposed to launch at some point this year, but we haven’t seen any hardware leaks for it, and now the rumor is that Apple won’t launch it until 2013. But does Apple really need to make an HDTV? Would a really awesome Apple TV style set-top box for cable companies be a better, cheaper, option than trying to get an iTV into every home? We can see the benefits on both side of the coin, but we’re really curious to hear what you guys think. Should Apple just come out with an improved Apple TV instead of an iTV? Or do something else entirely?

Click here to go to the Cult of Mac forums and share your thoughts on the rumored Apple HDTV

Some Apple Stores Now Use Special Dock Connectors To Stop iOS Devices From Being Stolen

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This dock connector will prevent iOS devices from being stolen from the Apple Store.
This dock connector will prevent iOS devices from being stolen from the Apple Store.

Apple retail stores are now installing special dock connectors to prevent iOS devices from being stolen. They look just like the regular USB cable that ships with every iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but they feature a nifty anti-left lock that prevents them from being removed from the device — essentially tethering the unit to the table.

Apple Working With Cable Providers To Stream Live TV To The Living Room [Report]

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Will the current Apple TV simple evolve, or is Apple working on something much bigger?
Will the current Apple TV simple evolve, or is Apple working on something much bigger?

The iPhone 5 and iPad mini sections of the rumor mill have been churning nonstop as of late, but there hasn’t been any rumors surrounding the future of the Apple TV for quite some time.

Today a report sheds more light on the future of the Apple TV by noting that Apple is in talks with major cable providers to stream live television to a set-top box.