GE’s new Alexa lamp shines light on internet of things

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GE's prototype adds Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa to a tabletop LED lamp.
GE's prototype adds Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa to a tabletop LED lamp.
Photo: GE

We’ve heard for years that the internet of things™ would imbue everything in our lives with the power of the web, all accessible by voice. If you’ve been waiting for something that isn’t a computer or smartphone or smart home hub to ask for driving directions or movie times, here’s your dream device at last: It’s a lamp that gets its smarts from Alexa.

Retrotastic Pippin portable takes its place in mythical Apple pantheon

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This portable Pippin design is just one of the faux Apple products in Mike Donovan's portfolio of vintage reveries. Images: Mike Donovan
This portable Pippin design is just one of the faux Apple products in Mike Donovan's portfolio of retro reveries. Images: Mike Donovan

Imagine a world in which an Apple portable called Pippin rules the video game industry. Nintendo and Sony are nothing more than petrified corpses after a surprise attack from Cupertino vaporizes their platforms with a portable device so simple, so magical, that Michael Spindler would have let John Sculley waterboard him with Pepsi to make it a reality.

That’s the world imagined by Mike Donovan, a New York City designer who draws faux prototypes of everything from retro iPads to iPhones based on the iMac G3. His retrotastic mockup of the gaming gadget that never was, which he shared exclusively with Cult of Mac, takes the concept of Apple’s failed Pippin video game platform to its logical, period-appropriate extension.

“We’re inundated with new tech choices at almost every turn but there is something so alluring about the fun and simplicity of those early ’80s and ’90s gadgets,” Donovan told Cult of Mac. “Plus, who doesn’t love a good throwback?”

Seven Bizarre iPhone Concepts That Apple Almost Made For Real [Gallery]

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Screen Shot 2012-09-07 at 9.42.37 AM
Apple almost made this iPhone. Really.

Over the past few years we’ve seen hundreds of fake iPhone mockups, some have been bizarre, while others looked so good we wished they were real. What’s been most surprising is that some of the weirdest looking concepts are actually fairly similar to prototypes Apple was working on in their labs.

Thanks to the evidence in the Apple vs Samsung trial, we got to see the different iPhone prototypes Apple was working on, so we’ve gone back and found 7 artists mockups that look a lot like prototypes Apple was working on. 

Every iPhone Prototype Apple Ever Made Before They Released The First iPhone [Gallery]

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The Samsung vs. Apple legal brouhaha has been a pretty tedious story to cover up until now, but over the last week, those of who with a professional interest in paying attention to the bickering were finally rewarded when Apple started coughing up images of their early iPhone prototypes in the court filings.

On Saturday, though, in preparation for the start of today’s trial, Apple released a new filing with dozens of sketches, prototypes and 3D models of early iPhone prototypes. We’ve seen some of them before, but a lot of them are new, and one thing that is abundantly clear is that back in 2006, Apple has already thought out every possible shape an iPhone could be.

We’ve put together a gallery below of all of Apple’s iPhone prototypes, culling the images from a longer slideshow from All Things D. Check it out: not only will you see iPhones that never made it in there, you’ll see the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 4 and even a longer iPhone that could be the iPhone 5!

Jony Ive Deposition Reveals Very Early iPad Prototype From Around 2002

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This early iPad prototype looks a lot like a MacBook with a touchscreen.
This early iPad prototype looks a lot like a MacBook with a touchscreen.

Apple’s iPad, with its sleek aluminum casing, large 9.7-inch display, is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful tablets currently available. But there was a time when it was as thick as a cheap Dell notebook and made from tacky white plastic — as these images of an early iPad prototype prove.

Our Source Has Seen The Apple HDTV, Here’s What It Looks Like

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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.

We have a source who claims to have seen a prototype Apple high-definition television set in action, indicating that Apple is readying the long-awaited device for market.

According to our source, who has asked to remain strictly anonymous, the Apple HDTV looks like Apple’s current lineup of LED-backlit Cinema Displays but is “much bigger.” It has a built-in iSight camera for making free FaceTime video conference calls. And it has Siri, the iPhone 4S’s voice-activated virtual assistant.

Analog Joystick Works Via iPhone Camera

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The Fling controller from TenOne Design (soon to be reviewed) is a great way to add a physical to your iPhone or iPad, just by suction-cupping it onto the screen. This means that it works with any game on your iOS device that uses an on-screen “joystick.”

The downside is that it moves at the worst moments: I have wiped out in more than one GTA car chase this way. But designers at the Keio University in Japan have come up with another idea. A joystick which uses the iPhone’s camera as a controller.

Tiny Camera Uses Your Fingers As A Viewfinder

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You might look pretty dorky these days if you make a frame from your fingers and start sizing up the world around you. But it’s actually a surprisingly good way to separate out parts of the landscape, especially for artists using pencils or paint who may not be carrying a camera.

But what about combining the two? That’s just what the nerds have done down at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences in Japan. The Ubi-Camera is a tiny digicam which uses your fingers as the viewfinder, and even allows you to zoom.