| Cult of Mac

Mophie’s New iPhone Case Equipped With a Credit Card Reader [CES 2011]



LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Mophie’s newest case, launched yesterday, incorporates a credit-card reader and allows business owners to process physical credit card transactions through the iPhone. To interface with the case’s reader, Mophie recruited Intuit’s free GoPayment app, which is compatible with Inuit’s flagship QuickBooks small business accounting package.

Even considering Mophie’s reputation for cutting-edge iPhone cases, this one is pretty remarkable — and a challenge to products like Square’s credit card reader for iPhone. The case is available now, and sells for $180.

Samsung Unveils the ‘Lightest, Thinnest’ Smartphone on the Market [CES 2011]



LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — The very next time I hear the term “iPhone-killer,”  I will go absolutely Looney-Tunes nuts. I will tear up telephone books, gargle with raw eggs and Marmite, the whole bit. Seriously.

On the other hand, Samsung really does seem to be taking precise aim at the iPhone 4 with their new Infuse 4G Android smartphone announced yesterday. They’re claiming that, when (if) released, it’ll be the lightest, thinnest phone on the market, and it’ll be equipped with oodles of goodies: a 4.5-inch, “next-generation” Super AMOLED screen (which they say will have better readability in bright sunlight) and a snappy 1.2 ghz processor. And get this — it’ll sit exclusively in the AT&T stable.

Casio Unveils The Sexiest-Looking Camera We Think We’ve Ever Seen [CES 2011]



LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — The TRYX could have been designed by Jonny Ive’s evil twin brother: It’s charismatic and completely striking — but in a dark, angular way.  I really couldn’t believe my jaw was dropping over a camera’s looks when I first saw it up close, but that’s exactly what happened. The TRYX’s form factor also has one really cool trick up it’s sleeve: the rim of the case swivels around and turns the whole thing into a sort-of tripod. It’s very slick, and it feels and looks satisfyingly well-designed.

Casio has made sure to back up the good looks with substance, and absolutely stuffed the 12-megapixel point-n-shoot with equally stunning performance too: Ultra-wide angle 21mm lens; HDR; touch-screen controls; the ability to capture seamless, 360-degree panoramic images with a single sweep; some sort of high-speed zoom system (which we didn’t get to try out); even a self-timer that’s motion-activated; and arguably the most impressive function: the ability to capture slow-motion video at 240 frames per second.

It’s coming in April, and it’s yours for $250. Press release with full specs here.

Microsoft’s Steve Balmer Demos Cool iPad-Influenced PCs [CES 2011]



LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — One of the interesting things about the iPad is its influence on some new Windows PCs.

During Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer’s keynote, for example, a couple of interesting tablet/PC hybrids were shown off that showed the influence of Apple’s iPad, but weren’t shameless rip-offs of the device.

The coolest was a double screen PC from ASUS that featured a touch-sensitive screen where the keyboard should be.

Don’t Believe The Hype: iPad Killers Are DOA At CES [CES 2011]


Panasonic's vaporware tablet at CES

UPDATE: Lenovo has taken issue with the timeline laid out in this post. Lenovo says its LePad Slate wil ship in China in Q1 and other Android slates will be available in the U.S. in 2011. The Windows Slate, pictured below, has not been officially announced, and may or may not ship. “There isn’t an expected date for this since it is a concept,” said a spokeswoman in email. In addition, the Notion Ink tablet just started shipping.

LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — I just walked out of a big Panasonic press conference where journalists swarmed all over the company’s just-announced tablet, but executives spent just three seconds discussing it.

That’s because Panasonic’s Android-powered Viera Tablet won’t be available till the end of the year.

End of the year? That’s 12 months away. By then, Apple will be selling the iPad 2, which is likely to be a blockbuster if it follows the same sales pattern as the second-gen iPhone.

Same story with Android tablets from Lenovo (end of the year), Asus (three Android tablets with first-half-of-the year ship dates), Notion Ink (no ship date), and Hewlett-Packard (as-yet-unnamed WebOS tablet promised mid year). In fact, Hewlett-Packard never shipped the tablet that made headlines at last year’s CES after Steve Balmer announced it at his keynote.

Pioneer Embraces The iPhone With A GPS Car Dock [CES 2011]


photo: Erfon Elijah

LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Pioneer launched its SmartCradle for the iPhone at its CES presser today, further proving that the aftermarket auto industry seems to be embracing the iPhone with rapidly increasing gusto.

They really pulled out the stops on this one, hardware-wise: a dedicated GPS receiver with an external antenna, which they said will give even newer iPod Touch models GPS capability; an accelerometer and gyro sensor for better location awareness; hands-free calling an integrated amplified speaker with the ability to vary volume based on ambient noise; and audio/video output. Of course, it’ll also charge the iPhone; Ted Cardenas, Pioneer’s director of marketing, made of point of this — but since the iPhone won’t last long with location services going, any dock even remotely similar already includes charging ability. Nary a whiff on price or availability yet.

Hemp Used In Bob Marley Headphones, Earbuds [CES 2011]



LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Fittingly for a line of music accessories bearing the name of reggae legend Bob Marley, some of the product components are made from hemp.

The carrying pocket for the House of Marley earbuds, for example, are made from hemp fibre, a spokeswoman told me. Bob Marley famously used hemp for something else, of course.

The House of Marley launched a range of about a dozen music products here at CES, including a boombox, iPod speaker dock, and several headphones and earbuds.

It’s not just hemp; the products are made form a variety of eco-concious materials, including recycled plastic and aluminum.

They also sound pretty good. At least, they did in the cavernous press hall. The twin-speaker boombox pumped out a pretty hefty sound — but it’s impossible to give anything a proper listen at CES.

A portion of profits goes to 1Love.org, a charity supported by the Marley family.

Pictured above is Bob Marley’s son, Rohan, wearing a pair of Marley cans. Here’s some pictures of some of the other products:

Intel Shows Off Speedy New Sandy Bridge Chips Destined For Next-Gen Macs [CES 2011]


Intel VP Mooly Eden launches the new Sandy Bridge line of chips at CES. The chips are likely to find their way into Macs in 2011.

LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Intel gave a detailed look at its next-generation Sandy Bridge chips that will likely make their way into Macs in 2011.

The chips boast four cores and integrated graphics processors that improve image-processing performance and power-management, according to Intel.

The new chips are up to 800% faster than the current generation Core Duo chips used in most of the MacBook line today. The chips are 60% faster than high-end i7 chips used in top-of-the-line iMacs and Mac Pros.

Made with a 32nm manufacturing process, the chips boast an incredible 1.16 billion transistors apiece.

“That’s a big number,” said Intel VP Mooly Eden, who walked a packed CES press conference through several benchmark tests showing off the new chips’ processing power.

Several PC companies here at CES unveiled new machines powered by Sandy Bridge chips, including Lenovo. Apple is usually several months behind and will likely introduce the new chips in the spring at the earliest.

During the preview event, Intel’s executives were extremely bullish about the Sandy Bridge line, portraying it as the biggest product launch in the company’s recent history.

The Sandy Bridge line comprises 29 chips that will find their way into more than 100 different “desktops, laptops and everything in between,” said Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini in opening remarks.

The most important addition to the chips’ architecture is the integrated graphics processor, which outperforms 45% of discrete graphics cards on the market today, said Eden. It certainly looked pretty impressive, displaying and streaming 1080p HD streaming wirelessly from a laptop to a connected TV; and conjuring up a 3D avatar of Eden that he said could easily be inserted into a game in realtime.

iPad 2 Case Causing Stir [CES 2011]


Courtesy: Engadget

A vendor of iPad cases usually wouldn’t create a ripple in the tidal wave of products announced daily from the CES floor. However, Dexim is making headlines by displaying a case reportedly designed for the unreleased iPad 2. The case looks similar to one for the original iPad, with some subtle differences.

Along with a magnetic bluetooth keyboard that attaches to one of the case’s flaps, the product reportedly features a thinner design (matching rumors), openings for a front and rear camera supposedly for the expected Facetime support, and a large opening in the back.

Monitor Your Blood Pressure With Your iPhone, iPad [CES 2011]



LAS VEGAS, CES 2011 — Now you can monitor your blood pressure on your iPhone or iPad, thanks to a new health-oriented accessory from Withings.

Withings’ Smart Blood Pressure Monitor is a $129 arm cuff that makes it easy to monitor your blood pressure every day, away from the doctor’s office.

“It’s much more accurate to test at home,” said Withings spokeswoman Carole Lavault.

“Twenty five percent of the worldwide population has hypertension,” she added.

On show here at CES, the system looks dead easy to use. Just wrap the sleeve around your arm and plug it into your iPhone/iPad’s dock. Hit the onscreen button, and the sleeve inflates/deflates to measure your blood pressure. That’s it; nothing to give you a heart attack.

Combined with a free app, the sleeve can record months of blood pressure data, which can be shared electronically with health care professionals.

Withings also makes the WiFi Body Scale, a net-connected scale, which can also send weight data to the blood pressure app.

Here’s a picture of the iPad app in action: