At long last, it’s the iPad mini. Unveiled today at a special event in San Jose, the slightly more portable iPad most certainly looks like its 9.7-inch elder, but it’s equipped with the same Lightning port that was ushered in on the iPhone 5 and is entirely more eager to slip inside some of the world’s largest cargo shorts. If you’ll recall, rumors of this thing actually hit a fever pitch back in 2010, with the stateside Apple v. Samsung patent trial revealing that SVP Eddy Cue was longing for a more book-friendly iPad in 2011. Naturally, Apple’s pushing the smaller form factor as a boon for those who adore ingesting text on digital screens, further advancing its iBook and education initiative that took center stage at its January keynote in New York City.
The device itself is precisely what you’d expect it to be: a slightly shrunken iPad, with a rear that resembles the new iPod touch. It’s aluminum-clad, finely polished and equipped with a 7.9-inch LCD (1024 x 768). The volume rocker, orientation / mute switch and bottom-mounted speakers are graciously borrowed from the conventional iPad, while the rest of the exterior maintains a pretty familiar look. No, there’s no touch sensitive bezel (à la PlayBook), wireless charging or USB 3.0 support — if you were looking for breakthrough hardware additions, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
That said, the smaller iPad is clearly aimed at classrooms and readers — two sectors where frills aren’t exactly necessary. Where it excels, predictably, is the overall fit and finish. Just as the bigger iPad, this one feels delightful in the hand. If you’ve held an iPad, you know where we’re coming from. Yes, it’s lighter and more nimble, making it feel as if Apple concocted its own version of the 7-inch tablet. And indeed, that’s precisely what has happened here. It’s still not “small,” though. While a fully outstretched adult hand can generally grasp it without help from the other, you’ll still want both for typing and using apps. It’s still too big for your average pocket, and it’s not going to save you a heck of a lot of room in your knapsack compared to the 9.7-incher.
Apple just introduced its second Retina display MacBook: the 13-inch MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,699 and is shipping today. Just months after the 15-incher was gifted with a display that packs more pixels than your existing HDTV, the 13-inch sibling is receiving similar treatment. Unveiled today in San Jose alongside the iPad mini, the intensely dense 13-inch MBP is true to the rumors — there’s a 2,560 x 1,600 panel, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, a full-size HDMI socket and a MagSafe 2 power connector. Unfortunately, those yearning for a Retina-equipped MacBook Air won’t find their dreams fulfilled just yet, but you can bet that holdouts will most certainly give this guy a look.
For starters, it’s wildly thin. No, not manilla envelope thin, but thin enough to slip into most briefcases and backpacks without the consumer even noticing. Outside of that, it’s mostly a shrunken version of the 15-incher let loose over the summer. The unibody design is as tight as ever, with the fit and finish continuing to impress. In my estimation, this is Apple’s most deliberate move yet to differentiate the 13-inch MacBook Pro from the 13-inch MacBook Air. On one hand, power users longing for a highly portable laptop can rejoice; on the other, this could be seen as reason for Apple to restrict the use of Retina displays to its Pro range for the foreseeable future.
Compared to the 1,280 x 800 resolution of the non-Retina 13-inch MBP, the new display is particularly stunning. Text has never looked more crisp, and colors are stupendously vibrant. Of course, apps, websites and graphics that haven’t been optimized for Retina still look like utter rubbish, and as more Apple machines transition to these panels, the outcry is going to get even louder. But, hopefully, it’ll light a fire under developers to get with the program.
Well, hello there, the worst-kept secret in tech. Apple’s iPad mini is the company’s newest device, a 7.9-inch tablet that’s designed to go toe-to-toe with Google’s Nexus 7. For now, it’ll sit alongside the iPad 2 and fourth-generation iPad, and as it packs the same 1,024 x 768 display as the second-generation slate, apps will carry across without any resizing. While Phil Schiller didn’t mention Google or the Nexus 7 by name, the rival slate (and Google’s app library) was compared to the newest iOS device. On stage, he claimed that the screen, which is .9-inch larger than the Nexus 7, gives the iPad mini 35 percent more display area than Google and ASUS’ collaboration.
On the hardware size, the 7.2mm thick, .68 pounds device has been manufactured with an “all new” process that gives it the same anodized edges as you’ll find on the iPhone 5. If you were hoping for equal specifications to the big-daddy iPad, you may be mildly disappointed. While it will pack a 5-megapixel camera and an LTE modem (if you opt to buy a cellular model), it’s running the last-generation A5 CPU. However, the slower internals and less potent display may account for how the company has been able to squeeze out a claimed 10 hours of use despite the constrained space for a battery. Pre-orders for the $329, 16GB WiFi-only model begin on Friday (October 26th) and will begin shipping on November 2nd. The cellular-equipped models will begin shipping a few weeks afterward on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, with the 16GB base model costing $459, running all the way to $659 for the 64GB unit.
Who said Apple’s event was all about the little things? Apple just unveiled its first redesign to its iMac desktop in three years. The new all-in-one makes the widely expected leap to Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 processors, but also represents a much leaner and meaner replacement for the 2009-era template — its edges are just 5mm thick, and it’s constructed with “friction stir welding” as well as a gapless, less reflective display that’s laminated together with the glass. Screen sizes remain the same and include both a 21.5-inch, 1080p model and a 27-inch, 2,560 x 1,400 model — sorry, no Retina displays this year. They share 720p-capable front cameras with dual mics as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce 600-era graphics, up to 32GB of RAM and a panoply of storage options that peak at 3TB of spinning storage, a 768GB SSD or what Apple calls a Fusion Drive that mixes both 128GB of flash with 1TB or 3TB of conventional storage (a hybrid drive, for those of us who’ve seen it before). There’s no optical drive unless you plug in a USB option.
The 21.5-inch model ships in November, and will set you back $1,299 for a 2.7GHz Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive; pony up for the 27-inch model at $1,799 and you’ll get a 2.9GHz Core i5 as well as the same memory and storage. Apple’s larger iMac doesn’t ship until December, however, which will give some impulse buyers at least a brief respite.
We’ve been hearing about a certain 5-inch HTC phablet for Verizon since July, but it looks like its Japanese counterpart may actually hit the market first. Unveiled by KDDI as the HTC J Butterfly (HTL21), this Android 4.1 device is the first announced phone to feature a 5-inch, 440ppi full-HD “Super LCD 3″ panel, and it’s fittingly complemented by a 1.5GHz quad-core APQ8064 underneath, making this the latest member in the small family of Snapdragon S4 Pro phones. There’s an eight-megapixel camera that naturally handles 1080p video at the back, accompanied by a 2.1-megapixel front-facing imager. Other details include 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSDHC expansion, 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 (LE), NFC, LTE and CDMA/GSM/UMTS/GPRS radios — that’s right, it’s a global device. Not bad for a 140g package, and it’s waterproof as well, rated at IPX5. But the question is how well will the 2,020mAh battery last under that super dense LCD and high-end processor? Only time will tell — even KDDI has yet to finalize this part of the specs. Folks on the KDDI network can grab hold of this powerful phone in early December, with a choice of red, white or black.
GoPro’s new Hero3 is lighter, faster, higher res and has WiFi, comes in three flavors starting at $199
At a San Francisco launch event GoPro has just revealed the next addition to its line of action cameras, the Hero3. The Hero3 claims specs that are 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than its predecessor, with a resolution that’s up to 4x higher and it has WiFi included. The top of the line Black Edition (pictured above) is capable of capturing video at up to 4K res — if you’re willing to drop the framerate down to 15fps — however thanks to a processor it says is 2x faster, it has also doubled frame rates at lower resolutions. That means 1080p60, 1440p48 and 720p120 modes are supported for your super slow and still-HD capture needs. The Silver Edition maxes out at 11MP stills and 1080p30 video, while the White Edition drops down to 5MP stills. All three versions include WiFi (no BacPac necessary for remote control via the just-released-on-iOS app) however the Black edition includes a remote that can control up to 50 cameras at once with a 600ft range and is waterproof to 10 feet deep. It will also be available as a $79 accessory for the lesser versions.
As far as pricing, the Black Edition is $399, the Silver is $299 and the White $199. Pre-orders are scheduled to start at 12:01AM PT (3:01AM ET), and there’s a handy counter on the GoPro site if you otherwise might forget. The variety of models and ubiquitous WiFi may help fight off competition at the pricing low end like the new ContourROAM2, among others. Naturally we were in the house and will have hands-on pics and impressions soon, check the gallery for pics of the box and detailed specs.
Today’s no doubt a big day for ASUS: while chairman Jonney Shih is gearing up to introduce the PadFone 2 in Milan later today, we just saw CEO Jerry Shen wowing the crowd with the same phone-in-tablet combo back in Taipei. Just as the recent leaks have shown, ASUS’ surprisingly quick follow-up to the original PadFone is simply bigger and better in many ways, notably with a screen upgrade to 4.7-inch 720p Super IPS+ panel (with up to 550nits brightness thanks to Sharp’s IGZO technology), Qualcomm’s awesome quad-core APQ8064 SoC instead of its dual-core sibling, 13-megapixel f/2.4 BSI sensor from Sony, 1.2-megapixel front camera, and a much slimmer PadFone Station slate — partly because it no longer features a docking bay cover! New owners will be greeted by Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but ASUS promises a Jelly Bean upgrade soon. There’s much more than meets the eyes so read on to find out more.
Consider this Microsoft’s ultimate blessing, or merely a way to guarantee household name recognition. Whatever the case, the company’s next-gen Apollo OS is not only powering HTC’s newest mobile movement, it’s also the headliner. That’s right, as clunky as it may initially seem, Windows Phone 8X is the official moniker of the OEM’s brightly hued flagship series, an alphabetical denomination that puts it on premium standing with the One X line. And thanks to the loosened spec restraints made possible by WP8, this modern-minded, unibodied beaut reps a 4.3-inch 1280 x 720 Super LCD 2 display with Gorilla Glass 2 coating, dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 processor buffered by 1GB RAM, 16GB of internal storage, WiFi a/b/g/n, NFC and an integrated 1,800mAh Li-ion battery. There’s also quadband radio support for GSM/GPRS/EDGE, HSPA/WCDMA (850, 900, 1900, 2100MHz) and, of course, LTE for stateside carriers.
Though the 8X may share the same boldly colored, polycarbonate construction of its live-tiled Lumia frenemies, it also stands apart with the inclusion of two HTC-specific features: Beats Audio, replete with a built-in amplifier, and ImageChip for continuous shooting. And speaking of optics, this device’s dual camera setup packs the combined punch of a 2.1-megapixel front-facer with 88-degree ultra-wide-angle lens and an 8-megapixel rear module with an f/2.0 lens accompanied by a single LED flash — both capable of 1080p video capture.
While the veil of mystery surrounding this latest tech industry collaboration may have just lifted, you’ll still have to wait a bit before it heads to retail. After all, Microsoft’s planning its own WP8 coming out party for late October — a reveal that should finally give us a full look at the smartphone UI formerly known as Metro. With a ship date set for sometime this November, the 8X will be available in four distinct colors – California Blue, Graphite Black, Flame Red and Limelight Yellow — on over 150 carriers worldwide. No word on final pricing as of yet. So, until then, sate yourself with this first taste
Nintendo showed off some of the Wii U’s new television functionality during its New York City press event — first unveiled during E3 2012 — including DVR and TiVO, and search across several content providers (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, and cable television, to name a few). It’s unclear whether the DVR functionality is built into the console or not, but we’ll be sure to find out as soon as possible*. Nintendo’s director of strategic partnership Zach Fountain’s calling the service a “personalized program guide” and he showed off how you’ll be able to interact with content — movies and television shows can be searched via text entry, or explored in a general category sense (movies, tv, sports, etc.). If QWERTY text isn’t your kind of thing, a rotary entry in the lower right corner offers another way to seek out content.
The service is only for US and Canadian Wii U owners for now, but Fils-Aime said the company’s exploring an expansion into other parts of the Americas. Nintendo TVii is free with the purchase of a console this November. Click on past the break for the company’s brief video demo.
Yes, finally — finally — Apple’s years-long headphone debacle may finally be at an end, with the introduction this morning of redesigned earbuds. Their new name: “EarPods.” Like so many things from today’s Apple press conference, the new earphones look an awful lot like a leak we saw earlier this month. Apple says the new earphones feature, “a breakthrough design for a more natural fit and increased durability, and an incredible acoustic quality typically reserved for higher-end earphones.” As seen above, they feature a main and secondary grill on each “pod,” and the iPhone version has an inline remote / microphone built-in along the wire. The set looks starkly different from past Apple earphone offerings — no rubber, distinctly less visible metal, and an all-plastic outer shell.
Rather than create a plugged-up seal as most in-ear headphones do, the pods rest at the edge of your ear canal with the main grill directed straight into it. A port on the back of each bud helps airflow to enhance the midrange, while dual ports on the bottom of each stem helps the bass response. Overall, the intention is to maximize airflow for optimal sound quality. Apple claims the design results in, “overall audio quality [that's] so impressive, they rival high-end headphones that cost hundreds of dollars more.” They’re available today for purchase as a standalone, and will ship with the new iPod Touch, Nano, and iPhone 5. A standalone set with an inline remote / mic will cost you the same $29 price point of its predecessor — and they’re already available at the source link below.
Apple refreshes iPod nano: 2.5-inch multitouch display, 16GB, Bluetooth, available this October for $149
With news of Apple’s shining star, the iPhone 5, out of the way, the company’s shifting focus to its other major pillar: the iPod. Now seven generations in, the iPod nano is getting a refresh with a 38-percent thinner profile and svelte 5.4mm thickness. The multitouch screen now measures 2.5-inches across and sports a physical home button right below. Also packed in to this evolutionary PMP leap is an FM tuner with DVR-like functionality for playback control, Bluetooth radio (for wireless streaming support), inbuilt pedometer and, of course, that slimmed-down Lightning dock connector. And, according to Cupertino, this wee media player should last for up to 30 hours, making it the longest lasting nano the company’s ever built. You can snag this 16GB lil’ fella in a near rainbow of colors — seven in all — this October when it goes on sale for $149.
The FTC just completed its investigation into Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram late last month, and now the two companies have announced that the billion dollar deal is officially closed. Instagram has also confirmed that its team will be making the move to Facebook’s offices, but it assures folks that the “Instagram app and its features will stay the same one you know and love.” For its part, Facebook reiterated its statement that it is “committed to building and growing Instagram independently,” and that “Instagram will continue to serve its community, and we will help Instagram continue to grow by using Facebook’s strong engineering team and infrastructure.” It also offers a small hint of things to come by noting that “we also can’t wait to work with the talented Instagram team to improve the mobile experience.” In other news, Instagram also took the opportunity to announce that it’s now crossed the five billion photo mark — no word on a breakdown by filters, though.
Nokia Lumia 920 official: Dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU, 8MP PureView camera, Windows Phone 8 (video)
It was only this past spring that Nokia crashed onto the US smartphone scene to stake its claim and make inroads into consumers’ minds and hearts. Now, just five months later, the Finnish company’s poised to overtake the buzz of its fledgling, former Windows Phone flagship, with what many consider to be a true high-end contender: the Lumia 920.
As one of the first Windows Phone 8 devices to be officially announced, this device augments Espoo’s line with a larger, curved 4.5-inch PureMotion HD+ display, dual-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 CPU, 2,000mAh battery, NFC, integrated wireless charging and an 8-megapixel rear PureView camera capable of 1080p video. The display packs WXGA (1,280 x 768) resolution, is 25 percent brighter than the next best panel on the market and it’s the fastest LCD that Nokia has ever shipped on a smartphone. What’s more, the screen also boasts what Nokia calls “Super Sensitive Touch,” which promises to let you use it even when wearing gloves or mitts.
As you can tell from its humpless back, this PureView is not that of the 41-megapixel variety — it’s merely all about the branding, as the moniker will now ring synonymous with “high-end cameras.” Despite that fall from 808 grace, Nokia’s Head of Imaging Damian Dinning has assured detractors the magic is in what’s done with the optics and pixels and not sheer gargantuan sampling size. To wit, the 920 employs a “floating lens,” which, in layman’s terms, translates into hardware image stabilization and also packs impressive low-light capabilities — an area the company’s seems squarely focused upon.
In a true return to form, the 920 also hearkens back to the Lumia that started it all, opting for the “sinuous tapering” that debuted on the 800 with glass edges that blend gently into the polycarbonate hull. Unfortunately, not all of that design language has made the transition, given its chassis now appears glossier and more polished, distancing itself from that premium matte finish. Still, as looks go, the handset’s keeping to its 900 origins, appearing nigh indistinct from its predecessor save for that attention-grabbing mellow yellow hue.And as a bonus, Nokia’s imbued the device with integrated wireless charging, based on the Qi standard, which corroborates those leaks we saw just last week. The Lumia 920 will arrive in pentaband LTE and HSPA+ variants and both are expected to ship “in selected markets” later this year.
Facebook wants more members in Asia and it is going to great lengths to get them. Facebook has reportedly invested in a new underwater cable project that will stretch up to 10,000 kilometers. That’s 6,214 in miles. The project is called Asia Pacific Gateway and the idea is to improve Internet speeds for the majority of the people on the continent by using fiber-optic cable to send and receive data to North America faster.
The new cable system will apparently run from Malaysia to South Korea and Japan, with links to other countries as well. Well, if they do succeed in this, those users will know that Facebook made it happen and so hopefully they will be grateful and show their love with even more memberships.
“Our investment in this cable will help support our growth in South Asia, making it possible for us to provide a better user experience for a greater number of Facebook users in countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Singapore,” a Facebook spokesman said.
It’s seems like only yesterday we were all crowded around our laptops, watching a live stream and getting amped for Ice Cream Sandwich. Truth is, that was six months ago now and, while most of the Android running public still hasn’t been blessed with 4.0, it’s already time to make the leap to 4.1. Today Google officially took the wraps off Jelly Bean, the next evolution of its mobile platform and while it’s not quite the revolutionary shift that was Gingerbread to ICS, it still marks an important improvement for the ecosystem. One of the biggest features is Project Butter, a deep-diving effort to improve performance and response time. The whole system hums along at 60fps now, and while the difference of a few milliseconds might sound like small potatoes, it becomes glaringly apparent the moment you run Jelly Bean next to an ICS device. Animations are smoother and quicker. The CPU immediately ramps up the moment a touch is detected to ensure speedy response.
The home screen has also been tweaked, adding some nice features like dynamically resizing widgets, so you no longer have to place it, resize it then move it to where you want if there isn’t enough room. If there is room, but your app icons are merely in the way, the widget will automatically push them to the side. And, in a nice, slick touch, apps and widgets can be removed by flicking them off the screen. Another extremely welcome touch is the addition of offline voice input. Now you can tap the microphone and dictate a message even with the phone in airplane mode.
The camera app, which was already a highlight of ICS, has gotten even better in 4.1. Now, the gallery is slickly integrated, allowing you to quickly pull up the photo you just took with a swipe to the left. You can keep swiping through your images or even pinch to zoom out and view all your images in a filmstrip view. Deleting images is as simple as swiping a pic off the screen and, if you’ve manage to accidentally remove one, a quick tap of the undo button restores it. And, speaking of images, you can now share them and video using Google Beam, and Android now supports pairing with Bluetooth devices with the assistance of NFC.
Looks like they didn’t print the banner out for nothing — as anticipated, it’s not just refreshed MacBook Airs or Mountain Lion getting the red carpet treatment at today’s World Wide Developer’s Conference keynote. Cupertino has also taken the shiny cling wrap off of the latest version of iOS. What’s new? Well at least 200 things! Most notably, Siri has gotten a little make over, including the ability to launch apps, more knowledge of sports, restaurants and movie times, it’s also coming to iPad. There’s better Facebook integration too, with photos, websites, maps and more getting the instant share option — you can even “like” or share app from the Appstore. Other tweaks on the phone side of things let you dismiss incoming calls with a swipe, or send a pre-written SMS, even set it to give you a reminder once you change location.
Another popular feature will be “Do Not Disturb” which holds off all those notifications (from your new Facebook friends, we guess). You’ll still get them, but the won’t alert, or light up the screen. Face-timers will also be pleased to see that feature finally working over cellular. Sharing images also just got easier with shared Photo Streams — choose the pictures, choose the friends. Done. New “Guided Access” allows parents or teachers (for example) to keep users from exiting an app accidentally (or in the case of the teachers — intentionally!). More info and PR after the break.
As we’d already been speculating, Apple has developed its own maps app, with more than 100 million businesses already integrated. There will be live traffic information (sourced in real-time anonymously from iOS users) and turn-by-turn navigation in the works. Directions will be visible from the lock screen, and you can — of course — use Siri to get them. There are vector-based 3D maps (just like Google’s) when you zoom in close,
Wondering if and when you can get these features? Well, it’s supported by iPhone 3GS and upwards, that includes the second and third generation iPads, plus fourth-gen iPod touches. Beta is going out today, with a full release in the fall.
Back in February Google announced that they were activating over 850,000 Android devices per day, and now Google’s Andy Rubin has announced on Twitter that Google are activating more than 900,000 Android devices each day.
There have been a couple of rumors that Andy Rubin may be leaving Google, so he decided to put an end to the rumors with the following tweet, which also included the updated details on Android activations.
No plans to leave Google. Oh, and just for meme completeness — there are over 900,000 android devices activated each day @Scobleizer
We suspect by the end of the year Google will be activating more than 1 million Android devices each day, which certainly would be very impressive.
Two displays in one tablet? Yes you can. ASUS’ new TAICHI series packs displays on both the front and the rear, letting you use the device in a variety of configurations. In ‘notebook’ mode, you can use TAICHI with a backlit QWERTY keyboard and trackpad. Once you close the lid, however, it’s stylus time. TAICHI includes Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processors, 4 gigs of RAM, SSD storage, dual-band 802.11n WiFi, FHD/Super IPS+ displays and, naturally, dual cameras. Despite the display duo, both the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch configurations are reportedly as thin and light as the Zenbook line. Both variants will offer 1900 x 1280 pixels on each side, and displays can be used independently, so you can even share the device with a friend — with completely different content on either LCDs.
How many times have we posted a review of an ASUS Transformer tablet only to read comments that say, “Put Win8 on it and I’ll buy it.” Well, folks, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. ASUS just announced the Tablet 600, a Transformer-like slate running Windows RT. Like any Android-powered Transformer, this one packs a quad-core Tegra 3 chip, except it has twice the RAM (2GB). At the center of it all is a 10.1-inch (1366 x 768) IPS+ display with viewing angles similar to what you’ll find on current Transformer tablets. Around back, it has an auto-focusing 8-megapixel camera with an LED flash, complemented by a 2-megapixel shooter up front. Other specs include WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 and your usual array of sensors, including GPS, a gyroscope, e-compass and, last but not least, NFC. And guess what? We’ve already got hands-on. Bear with us as we upload photos and video — connectivity is slow here!