Monday, September 22, 2014

Tim Cook talks about Steve Jobs, Apple TV and Beats acquisition in latest interview

Screen Shot 2014-09-12 at 6.50.48 PM

After taking the stage at the Flint Center to unveil the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a two-part interview on The Charlie Rose Show. Ahead of the full-length question-and-answer session, of which the first segment airs tonight, the show has shared three short video clips in which the chief executive talks about Steve Jobs, Apple TV and the Beats acquisition.

In the first clip, Cook discusses about how his mentor and predecessor in Steve Jobs, who passed away in October 2011 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer, remains very close to him. “He's in my heart,” said Cook. “He's deep in Apple's DNA. His spirit will always be the foundation of the company. I literally think about him everyday. His office is still left as it was, on the fourth floor. His name is still on the door."

Cook added that the core values of Apple are still based around the visionary that Jobs was. "If you think about the things that Steve stood for at a macro level, he stood for innovation; he stood for the simple, not the complex; he knew that Apple should only enter areas where we can control the primary technology. All of these things are still deep in our company, they're still things that we very much believe."

Watch the clips below:

The chief executive also reflected on how television remains stuck back in the 1970s. “When you go in the living room to watch the TV, or wherever it might be, it almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock and you’ve entered a time capsule and you’re going backwards,” said Cook. It has long been rumored that Apple is working on a television set that could help redefine the living room, but so far only offers the Apple TV set-top box.

Cook claims that TVs offer a terrible user interface, which is something that I have to agree with. Even with the emergence of smart TVs from Samsung and other electronics makers, the flat screen is still far less innovative than smartphones, tablets and notebooks. “I don’t want to get into what we’re doing in the future,” said Cook, in response to why Apple doesn’t fix this outdated TV experience. “This is an area that we continue to look at.”

The third segment explains why Apple chose to acquire Beats Music and Beats Electronics earlier this year. Cook claimed that the iPhone maker saw talent that he is “super impressed with” in Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, referring to them as “creative geniuses.” He also explained that while trying out Beats Music one night, compared to some other music streaming services, he realized that Beats recognized the importance of human curation - the sequence of songs playing.

Cook is impressed with the brand that Beats has established, adding that the headphones business is fast growing and that Beats needed a global footprint that Apple was able to offer. Cook felt that he could get a music subscription service, talent and fast growing business in one as three underlying reasons why Apple acquired Beats. In case you missed it, the deal was announced in May for $3 billion following weeks of speculation.

The first segment of the interview will air on The Charlie Rose Show on PBS later tonight, followed by the second segment on Monday night.

AT&T: iPhone 6 was the biggest pre-order launch day ever

AT&T iPhone 6

AT&T has just issued a press release stating the today’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-order launch was their biggest day ever.

AT&T’s CEO had earlier claimed that the carrier has already secured "hundreds of thousands" of preorders for the new iPhones.

"It was a terrific day for our customers and us. This is our biggest iPhone, pre-order launch day ever," said Glenn Lurie, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. "When you combine our best-pricing, the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network, and a service experience that leads the industry, iPhone customers who choose AT&T win."

Apple’s new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders started at 12:01 am Pacific. Interestingly, AT&T started taking pre-orders a little early, which probably helped. It is possible that many AT&T customers ended up pre-ordering their iPhones on the carrier’s website because of the problems with Apple’s website, which was down for most people for almost 3 hours.

AT&T has not mentioned how many units were pre-ordered. Apple has also announced that “response to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has been incredible with a record number of preorders overnight.”

Did you manage to pre-order your iPhone 6 Plus or iPhone 6? If so, did you pre-order it on Apple’s website or on your carrier’s website.

[via 9to5Mac]

Sunday, September 21, 2014

New Kindle Paperwhite Is a Snappier, More Capable E-Reader

There's a new Kindle in town: The Kindle Paperwhite. This latest product in Amazon's line of basic monochrome e-readers has some welcome improvements over last year's Paperwhite, including a faster processor and a nicer screen.

But since it's not a blow-your-mind upgrade, Kindle lovers might be wondering whether it's worth an upgrade. And e-reader newbies may wonder what the difference is between this one - which starts at $119 - and the $69 entry-level Kindle.

I've been using the new Kindle Paperwhite for the past week, reading mostly media theory and economics books, which means I use it for less than an hour a night before I fall asleep. My conclusion is that it's probably not a must-have for people who are perfectly happy with their 2012 Paperwhite, but it is very tempting. Overall, the new Paperwhite is an excellent product.

It's a little bit snappier than the 2012 version. The front-lit E-ink screen doesn't have the "shadows" that plagued some of last year's Paperwhites, including the one I have. And I like the new features that help you recover your place more quickly, as well as Vocabulary Builder, which creates flash cards of the word you look up using the Web-based dictionary.

In deciding whether to purchase this e-reader for yourself it might help to first understand the Amazon Kindle product line.

There are currently two different Kindle e-readers being sold: The "regular" Kindle and this Kindle Paperwhite, which replaces last year's model.

Then there are variations within those two products: Wi-Fi-only models, those with both Wi-Fi and 3G, those with ads, and those without. Both have monochrome E-ink screens but the Paperwhite has a glow-y screen so you don't have to shine a light on it to read in the dark.

Kindle Paperwhite

Also, the regular Kindle has buttons, not a touchscreen; and it's significantly cheaper, starting at $69. (These shouldn't be confused with Amazon's separate Kindle Fire line, which consists of full-color tablets running apps.)

The new Kindle Paperwhite costs $119 for a Wi-Fi-only version with "special offers," which basically means that Amazon runs ads for books across the lock screen. Then the price jumps up to $189 for a Wi-Fi and 3G Paperwhite with special offers. Strip the special offers away for an ad-free e-reader and both of those models go up in price by $20.

The new Paperwhite measures the same as the previous one - 6.7 by 4.6 by .36 inches - and has a six-inch touchscreen display. It weighs 7.3 ounces, meaning that it's less than an ounce lighter than the 2012 Paperwhite, and when I held one in each hand, I really couldn't tell the difference. It has a smooth, rubberized coating, and feels durable.

On the left is the 2012 version of the Paperwhite. On the right, the new model.

On the left is the 2012 version of the Paperwhite. On the right, the new model.

It comes with two gigabytes of internal storage, storing around 1,000 books. At the bottom of the Paperwhite there is a power button, a status light and a micro-USB port for charging. There are no other buttons on the device.

When you fire up the Kindle, you see a row of options at the top of the screen, including home, back, lighting adjustment, settings and a shopping cart that takes you to the Amazon store.

This is, of course, so you can buy e-books on (The Kindle app on iPad, which I also use regularly, doesn't have a purchasing option.) Amazon has around two million e-books available for download on Kindle, including 400,000 that are exclusive to the Kindle store. Users can also borrow a fraction of those e-books, provided that you're an Amazon Prime subscriber.


In my experience, three out of roughly a dozen books I've searched for in the past week weren't available on as a Kindle download.

Once I started reading I could see the difference between last year's version of the Paperwhite and this new one. My old Paperwhite has a strange "shadow" at the bottom of the display and in general can have a sort of uneven look. The new one looks brighter, the contrast of black and white is greater, and the best part - there are no shadows on the screen.

The new Paperwhite also has a faster processor. I noticed its speediness more when toggling through the icons at the top of the screen - tapping the home button, searching, going into settings - because everything just felt more responsive. I didn't notice it quite as much with page turns. If it is faster, it might be fractions of a second faster. Books also downloaded very quickly.


There are a handful of new or improved features that Amazon is boasting about with this Paperwhite, but I'll focus on three key ones: Page Flip, In-Line Footnotes and Vocabulary Builder.

Page Flip lets you skip around without losing your place. In-Line Footnotes lets you view a footnote from the page you're on in a pop-up window, instead of being catapulted to another part of the book. In my experience, In-Line Footnotes worked with some books, but not all. Vocabulary Builder, which appears in a drop-down menu from the settings tab, shows you flash cards for all the words you've searched for while reaching.

The good news about the new Paperwhite's battery is that it matches the battery of the old Paperwhite, even while running on a more powerful processor. The battery will probably outlast Jeff Bezos's 10,000-year clock. Okay, not really, but Amazon said it can last up to two months with Wi-Fi turned off. After five nights of using the Kindle Paperwhite with Wi-Fi turned on, my battery had only dwindled to approximately 70 percent.


The bad news is that Amazon still isn't throwing a power adapter for wall outlets into the box, which means you could spend $15 extra on that.

A few more downsides: The Paperwhite doesn't have a headphone jack, and it doesn't support audio books through Audible. The "experimental browser" still feels like an experiment.

Also, and this is a small thing, but I really like that notes are auto-corrected when you're using the Kindle app for iPad. Conversely, on the Kindle e-reading devices, text isn't auto-corrected, which means I'm fat-fingering all sort of words that probably won't make sense to me later on.

Downsides aside, the new Kindle Paperwhite is a welcome improvement in the Kindle line.

Humans 1, Robots 0

Computers seem to be replacing humans across many industries, and we're all getting very nervous.

But if you want some reason for optimism, visit your local supermarket. See that self-checkout machine? It doesn't hold a candle to the humans - and its deficiencies neatly illustrate the limits of computers' abilities to mimic human skills.

The human supermarket checker is superior to the self-checkout machine in almost every way. The human is faster. The human has a more pleasing, less buggy interface. The human doesn't expect me to remember or look up codes for produce, she bags my groceries, and unlike the machine, she isn't on hair-trigger alert for any sign that I might be trying to steal toilet paper. Best of all, the human does all the work while I'm allowed to stand there and stupidly stare at my phone, which is my natural state of being.

Read the rest of this post on the original site

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mad Catz's M.O.J.O. Microconsole Costs $250, Opens for Preorders

The M.O.J.O., an Android-based but TV-connected microconsole developed by gaming-peripherals manufacturer Mad Catz, will cost $250 when it goes on sale in December, the company announced today. That puts it near the high end of competing Android gaming devices, closer to the portable $300 Nvidia Shield than the TV-connected $80 GameStick or $100 Ouya. The M.O.J.O.'s website is now accepting preorders ahead of its Dec. 10 launch date, although the company said in a press release that the microconsole will only be available "in limited quantities" at that time.