Jordan Kahn


Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at  

Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for and the latest gear and deals on

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January 31, 2013


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published a couple of interesting patent applications from Apple today. One patent described various embodiments of a depth perception system and laser projection, while another concerned an “ad-hoc cash dispensing network” that would turn iPhone users into walking ATMs.

PatentlyApple first covered the patent and highlighted several possibilities of using cameras and a laser source to determine the distance of an object and implement various applications based on detection of depth. The report explained an embodiment of the invention by describing how Apple could use the system integrated into, for example, an iMac. PatentlyApple also described how Apple could use the invention for laser projected keyboard applications (as pictured above):

In this example, the iMac is able to detect a user approaching it and activate a particular program, application, awake from sleep or power save mode, and the like… In patent FIG. 12, we see a user positioned in front of this future iMac such that the first and second beams 206a, 206b may at least partially intersect the user. The iMac’s updated iSight Camera will be able to determine the distance that the user is from iMac. The depth perception system increases the sensitivity of user detection for the iMac so that it could make a distinction between the user and an occupied chair… In Apple’s patent FIG. 11A shown below, we see the depth perception system incorporated into a mobile electronic device such as an iPad. In this example, the system may be used in combination with a projected control panel 115 (such as a keyboard, audio/video controls, and so on). The control panel 115 may be a light pattern projected from a light source onto a surface (e.g., table or desk), the control panel 115 may include different light shapes, colors, or the like for representing different inputs. pointed us to the “ad-hoc cash dispensing network” patent published today and recently filed by Apple that would essentially allow iOS users to become ATMs for other iPhone users. Just imagine being able to withdraw cash when there simply isn’t an ATM or bank nearby. Apple’s system would allow other close by iPhone users to lend you cash, with the borrowed money returned to the lender through your iTunes account/credit card for a small fee (as pictured in the patent drawing below):
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January 30, 2013


The company formerly known as RIM, BlackBerry, today announced its latest lineup of devices running BlackBerry 10. On top of the rebranding of the company, executives took the stage to show off the new 4.2-inch BlackBerry Z10 and a second model launching equipped with a QWERTY keyboard. Some of the early reviews for the devices and BB10 are starting to roll in, and we put together a roundup of first impressions below:

Walt Mossberg, Wall Street Journal:

The Z10 and BB10 represent a radical reinvention of the BlackBerry. The hardware is decent and the user interface is logical and generally easy to use. I believe it has a chance of getting RIM back into the game, if the company can attract a lot more apps…. Master BlackBerry thumb typists might not find it as fast as the traditional physical keyboard, but, for a one-finger typist like me, it was faster and more accurate than either the native keyboards on the iPhone or Android. This is partly because it features predictive typing.

The Verge:

The Z10 is a fine device, well made, reasonably priced, backed by a company with a long track record. But it’s not the only device of its kind, and it’s swimming against a massive wave of entrenched players with really, really good products… . It does everything a modern phone should do, usually without hesitation. It doesn’t do everything perfectly, but it does many things — most things — reasonably well. The problem with the Z10 is that it doesn’t necessarily do anything better than any of its competition.

Engadget: expand full story

January 29, 2013


T-Mobile has yet to provide specific details on its deal to begin selling Apple products this year, but its plan to eliminate subsidies and provide users with the ability to purchase devices with monthly installments in the next three months is getting a lot of attention. We assume this offer of purchasing a smartphone through $15 to $20 installments for 20 months will extend to the iPhone, as T-Mobile USA CEO John Legere recently hinted. According to Reuters, who recently spoke with the CEOs of Verizon and AT&T, the other major iPhone carriers are very intrigued by the strategy.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told Reuters he likes the idea and would keep a close eye on T-Mobile’s strategy:

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We previously reported that Apple would likely introduce a new 128GB iPad model, and today the company made things official with a press release on its website announcing the product. As predicted, Apple will make both Wi-Fi-only and cellular options for the new 128GB capacity fourth-generation iPad. Apple also confirmed that both black and white models of the device would be available starting Feb. 5 through Apple’s online store, retail locations, and authorized resellers.

Confirming our report from earlier this week, Apple announced pricing for the new iPad would start at $799 for the Wi-Fi-only model and $929 for the cellular model.

“With more than 120 million iPads sold, it’s clear that customers around the world love their iPads, and everyday they are finding more great reasons to work, learn and play on their iPads rather than their old PCs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With twice the storage capacity and an unparalleled selection of over 300,000 native iPad apps, enterprises, educators and artists have even more reasons to use iPad for all their business and personal needs.”

Apple also noted in its press release that it currently has over 10 million iWork users. The full press release is below: expand full story

January 28, 2013

A demo of Angry Bots iOS app embedded using Kickfolio

We told you about a service called Kickfolio in December that would allow developers to demo their iOS apps directly in the browser using a new HTML5-based platform. The service converts a zipped version of an iOS app into a private test page with a completely interactive HTML5 and CSS version of the app. Today, the service got a few updates including the ability to embed app demos on any webpage using an iframe. You’ll find embedded iOS apps above and below that Kickfolio sent over for us to try. Kickfolio also now supports iPad apps, and it is making the service much more affordable for all. This is a powerful tool for developers promoting their apps online, and it’s one I expect many to take advantage of when providing free demos to potential customers and press on their website.

Kickfolio originally had some feedback for users about plans starting at $50 a month. The good news: the company just slashed the cheapest plan to $9 a month (that includes 500 embed sessions). Every plan now also includes unlimited apps, and the company is reopening 15-day free trials so everyone will get a chance to try the new features.

Another embedded app demo from Kickfolio below: expand full story


Last month we discovered the latest Apple TV beta has a new Bluetooth menu that allows users to pair a wireless keyboard to second and third-gen Apple TVs. With Apple’s release of iOS 6.1 to the public today and an update to Apple TV, you’ll probably be in the market for the right Bluetooth keyboard to occupy a spot next to your already crowded table full of remotes. Below we have put together a few of our favorite compact options that will pair perfectly with your Apple TV.  expand full story

AppleTV-5.2After releasing iOS 6.1 with support for more LTE carriers, Siri movie-ticket purchasing, and more, Apple also released an update to Apple TV that brings Bluetooth keyboard support (as previously discovered), Up Next, and an enhanced iTunes in the Cloud service. As highlighted in the image above, Apple added the Up Next feature it first introduced in iTunes 11, along with the previously discovered Bluetooth keyboard support and the ability to browse and play purchased iTunes music from iCloud.

Check out our roundup of the 10 best Bluetooth keyboards to pair with your Apple TV.

Curiously, Apple also appears to have released an update for unannounced AppleTV 3,2: expand full story

Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 12.11.01 PM

Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge, who just recently claimed to have details on the upcoming iPad 5 and iPhone lineup, today shared additional details on Apple’s rumored low-cost iPhone. According to the report, reliable sources have confirmed that the device will be made “substantially from plastic.” Horwitz said the new budget iPhone will look almost identical to the iPhone 5 from the front, with a 4-inch, 1,136-by-640 display, but it will also include a curved design that blends elements of the iPod touch and iPod classic:

No, it won’t just be a Retina- and Lightning-equipped refresh of the iPhone 3G or 3GS, Apple’s last plastic iPhones, nor will it look just like an all-plastic version of the iPhone 5. This new model is actually a cross between the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and… wait for it… the iPod classic. Yes, really. It will have a 4” screen, like the iPhone 5, a bottom like the latest iPod touch, and a shape that’s most similar to the iPod classic.

While the report claimed the device would look almost identical to the iPhone 5 from the front, it will also slightly increase in size. Horwitz said the low-cost iPhone will be “a half-millimeter taller and a half-millimeter wider—nearly imperceptible differences—as well as almost a millimeter thicker” than the current iPhone 5.

On the back of the device, rather than the fully curved design of the plastic iPhone 3G and 3GS, the report described a device with curves similar to the iPod classic (as highlighted in the image above). Horwitz continued with details on the positioning of the budget iPhone’s Lightning connector, headphone port, camera, and speakers:

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