I came back from what I’d like to think of as a well-deserved vacation earlier this week and, unlike previous vacations at the camping I’ve been spending most of my summers in for the past 15 years, this time I went there with my friends and a specific goal in mind: I didn’t have to write anything, but I should have been able to do so and check on MacStories if my attention was needed. Last year, I went on vacation knowing that I would have ended up writing for the site anyway. Not this year. Yet, I told myself, if something happens — or really, just to make sure I could at least read the news — the devices I work with every day should be capable of letting me get things done quickly, and efficiently.
I went on vacation for roughly ten days, bringing an iPad, an iPhone, my new MacBook Air and a slew of other iOS accessories and cables with me. My girlfriend brought her iPhone, too, as well as her MacBook Pro and iPad. All my iOS devices managed to fit in the Tom Bihn Ristretto bag I’ve been using for the past months, whilst the MacBook Air snugly fit into a new sleeve I bought two weeks ago. I did not bring a digital camera because the iPhone 4 is the best camera I’ve ever owned, nor did I choose to unplug those external drives from my desktop iMac and AirPort Extreme. If we ever decided to watch a movie, we’d buy it from iTunes and stream it over 3G. The MacBook Air wouldn’t have been capable of backing itself up to SuperDuper!, but I had a feeling I wouldn’t use the Air much.
As I set out to drive to the camping and think about how I would keep up with MacStories news and updates without actually working on them, I had a feeling iOS and the great apps I had installed on my devices would help me go through the task without much effort.
According to iLounge, developers of peripherals for iOS and OS X claim high licensing and production costs for the relatively new AirPlay and Thunderbolt standards will slow down the adoption of such technologies from third-party manufacturers.
AirPlay, officially introduced with iOS 4.2.1 in November 2010, allows iOS users to beam audio or video content to compatible AirPlay speakers, AirPort Express stations, and Apple TVs 2nd-gen. By working closely with a company called BridgeCo, Apple built a wireless system that directly interacts with iOS and Mac devices to receive audio streams, as well as artist’s information and other playback data. For video, AirPlay enables users to send video stored locally or from the web to an Apple TV on the same WiFi network. Since AirPlay’s announcement in September at the iPod event, both Apple and BridgeCo stressed how third-party adoption would bring hundreds of AirPlay-enabled products to the market. Until now, however, most of these products have been in high-end range of consumer prices, with Philips only recently exploring price points below $300. iLounge reports implementing AirPlay adds $100 to the final product’s price:
Our sources have described the AirPlay technologies as considerably more expensive to incorporate than Apple’s standard docking Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad Dock Connectors, and noted that Apple is very heavily pushing developers to adopt the wireless technologies despite the costs involved.
Similarly, the cost of adding a Thunderbolt port to an external drive is said to roughly match the price of a low-end drive, which we assume is somewhere below $99 as well. For this reason, it’s likely Thunderbolt will only find its way in high-end professional products in the immediate future, and quite possibly the factor behind Apple’s decision to leave the iPad 2 without a Thunderbolt port, rather relying on wireless sync introduced with iOS 5 (you might remember rumors before the iPad 2 announcement suggested the device could get Thunderbolt — back then codenamed Light Peak).
A variety of Thunderbolt products from LaCie and Promise, among others, were unveiled in the past months, with all of them seemingly oriented to the pro market and audio/video professionals. Thunderbolt is an I/O technology developed by Intel and Apple that allows for bidirectional 10 Gbps connection over a cable, plus a 10 Watt feed to power other devices and attached peripherals.
As noted by TUAW, online retailer Amazon has updated their electronics trade-in program to include Apple devices like older iPod touch and iPhone 3GS models, iPod Classics and original iPads. The webpage is available here, Amazon states it’s currently in “beta” status and items have to match several criteria to be eligible for the program. The devices have to be working units of course, must be in good hardware conditions, and mailing one back to Amazon (though a separate retailer handles the program, Amazon still provides the backend interface) will get you credits to spend on Amazon.com.
Prices seem to be pretty convenient, too: trading in a third-generation 64 GB iPod touch will result in $156 of credit, whilst an old 8 GB iPhone 3GS is priced at $162. A WiFi iPad 1st gen with 16 GB of storage has a trade-in value of $235, and a 16 GB iPad 2 (WiFi) is listed at $330.
Music streaming service Rdio, quite popular in the US and Canada but currently unavailable due to regional restrictions in the rest of the world, announced yesterday the release of an API for iOS and Android devices that will allow developers to build apps that are integrated with Rdio’s music and social functionalities. The API — documentation available here and here — will let third-party devs build apps that search “all the artists, songs, albums, playlists, and top charts in Rdio’s catalog of over 8.5 million songs.” On top of that, the API will also bring playlist creation and editing outside of the official Rdio app, as well as the possibility to show a user’s Heavy Rotation, collections or follow other people. For a first release, it sounds like a solid API for iOS and Android.
Attending Google I/O 2011? Take a closer look at our Mobile API on Android devices at Rdio’s Developer Sandbox at Moscone Center in San Francisco. If you won’t be there or want to see the API in action yourself, download the Rdio Music Quiz from the iPhone App store.
While our Mobile API doesn’t yet support our affiliate program, it will soon. So make sure to sign up for it now and start building that incredible mobile app you always wanted to make.
The current API and service terms won’t let developers create paid apps that directly plug into Rdio. Still, with Spotify struggling to launch in the US and an impressive userbase and app selection after a few months, Rdio has the chance to maintain a healthy ecosystem for music streaming apps in the US, and take it from there to Europe. Rdio has big plans for sure, and it’ll be interesting to follow its developments in the next months, especially after Apple will unveil its rumored cloud music service with full labels’ support.
Earlier today Intel officially unveiled the technology that will power its next-generation of chips, codenamed “Ivy Bridge”, with production set to start for PCs and servers by the end of 2011. After a decade-long research in Intel’s labs, the company announced a new 3D transistor structure named “Tri-Gate” that will allow to boost performances and efficiency in the new chips that Intel will also make for mobile devices and tablets. This announcement comes after speculation earlier this week about Intel willing to consider making processors for Apple’s iOS devices — which currently feature CPUs manufactured by Samsung, a company that’s at war with Apple over several patent infringement claims as previously reported. Intel hasn’t disclosed any plan to make chips for Apple nor did Apple comment on any of these rumors, but the mobile versions of Ivy bridge featuring 3D transistors for optimized speeds and battery life could surely be an option for Apple in future devices.
Intel’s 3-D Tri-Gate transistors enable chips to operate at lower voltage with lower leakage, providing an unprecedented combination of improved performance and energy efficiency compared to previous state-of-the-art transistors. The capabilities give chip designers the flexibility to choose transistors targeted for low power or high performance, depending on the application.
The 22nm 3-D Tri-Gate transistors provide up to 37 percent performance increase at low voltage versus Intel’s 32nm planar transistors. This incredible gain means that they are ideal for use in small handheld devices, which operate using less energy to “switch” back and forth. Alternatively, the new transistors consume less than half the power when at the same performance as 2-D planar transistors on 32nm chips.
Intel’s first 22nm Ivy Bridge microprocessor was demoed today running on a server, laptop and desktop computer. Production is slated by the end of the year, with Intel likely demonstrating the power of the Ivy Bridge platform with more demoes over the next months.
Electronista reports the sales of the Nintendo 3DS won’t match the ones of the original Nintendo DS, according to iSuppli:
Nintendo’s 3DS sales will never match those of the earlier DS line due to competition from Apple and Google, IHS iSuppli said this weekend. The 3DS would hit 11.6 million devices in 2011, but it would always lag behind what the DS line managed at the same point in its history, hitting 69.9 million systems versus 90.9 million.
I was one of the people who stood in line at my local videogame store in 2004 to get an early DS unit imported from the US (back then, games didn’t have regional restrictions), and I bought a DSLite and DSi after that. But something’s changed in the mobile gaming industry since November 2004 (when the original DS went on sale), and that’s the quick adoption of app stores and touch-based smartphones. In fact, iSuppli believes that the iPod touch, the iPhone and iPad are affecting the sales of the 3DS, which is struggling in keeping sales numbers up in Japan. Official numbers haven’t been released yet (they’ll be available later this week), but the 3DS is doing okay for now. It’s just that there’s a general assumption it won’t do as well as the DS in the long term, mainly because the market has changed to accommodate iOS and Android devices as gaming machines that also happen to do many other things — again, thanks to online marketplaces like the App Store. On top of that, DS games are still sold in cartridges at $40 whilst you can find thousands of $2.99 – $9.99 games in the App Store. And with digital downloads, you don’t have to worry about physically carrying around anything except, well, your phone or tablet.
There are a lot of factors to consider when comparing Nintendo’s portable consoles to iOS devices (personally, I don’t believe the console will die anytime soon), but it’s very clear that in this new market many users are playing games on new devices like the iPod touch. Nintendo will keep selling its 3DS models for years, but don’t expect those numbers to be as huge as the original DS.
Long-time Subscriber? The NYT Gives Out 1 Year of Free Web, iPhone and iPad Access
Jim Dalrymple at The Loop reports the New York Times is refining its paywall introduction by gifting one year of full free digital access (web, iPhone and iPad) to “long-time subscribers”. Apparently the NYT started sending out emails to some subscribers earlier today inviting them to join the promotion, and the one who got in touch with by The Loop has been a subscriber for 12 years.
The customer I spoke with has been a subscriber for 12 years and received the email this afternoon. He said he took The Times up on the offer and accepted the one-year free.
In the email The Times says “as a frequent reader of NYTimes.com, you’ve demonstrated an uncommon interest in a wide variety of today’s most important topics.” The email and subscription is being sponsored by Lincoln.
The New York Times’ paywall is set to go live for everyone on March 28th.
This product will likely never see the light of day on retail stores’ shelves, but it’d be so perfect on my home desk next to my iMac. The Polyply is a multi-device stand designed by Andrew Kim, and it’s made out of acrylic plastic and birch plywood. Realized as a two-week project by Kim to see how such an accessory would fit on an Apple’s fan desk, all parts were cut on a laser cutter. The Polyply could easily keep in place an iPad, an iPhone, and iPod and a stylus. It’s got room to plug in your Apple 30-pin dock connector and it even lowers for a better typing angle.
The design is simple and clean and, in spite of the times, it’d be just right for my desk that is daily cluttered by iPad, iPhone and, yes, an iPod Classic.
Like I said though, this was just an experiment. But I’d be ready to open my wallet if it was a Kickstarter project. [via Cult Of Mac]
Joseph Tame truly is one kind of a geek. Last year, he live streamed the Tokyo marathon with an iPhone head-mount. This year, the project is much bigger and involves the iRun, “the world’s most advanced mobile social media machine”. What is that? Well, it’s a complex device that can be wrapped around your body while you’re running and packs several mobile devices like phones, tablets and WiFi routers into a single structure that’s constantly connected to the Internet. Sounds geeky? Read on below.
It features four iPhones on rotatable mounts, an iPad, an Android handset, three mobile wifi routers, a wind turbine (ok, so it’s a kid’s fan that turns around…), a 4-in-one atmospheric monitor, a heart monitor, a plastic doughnut and of course the very important satellite dish for high-speed data connectivity (cunningly crafted from a bird-feeding dish).
It doesn’t end at mobile device integration, though. The iRun will connect to various applications like FaceTime and Skype to stream a live video feed, which will also be processed and broadcasted by a team of 15 people in a production studio. Joseph will send location and hearth rate with Runkeeper on the iPhone, transmit temperature and humidity date with a custom-made Android app and, as he says, look “incredibly cool” as well. That’s one particular outfit for sure.
More information on the project is available here. We think the system Joseph has built is really interesting, and we look forward to seeing everything in action on February 27th. Check out the video below. [via TUAW] (more…)