Jordan Kahn

@JordanKahn

Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at Jordan@9to5mac.com.  

Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for 9to5Google.com and the latest gear and deals on 9to5Toys.com.

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January 10, 2013

Adam_Carolla_Pictures

In July 2011, a federal jury in Texas awarded “patent licensing company” Personal Audio LLC $8 million in its patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. The jury found Apple infringed two valid patents related to downloadable playlists with its iOS devices as far back as the original iPod. One covered an “audio program player including a dynamic program selection controller,” while the other covered an “audio program distribution and playback system.” 9to5Mac has now learned Personal Audio LLC is attempting to target content creators directly, starting with a new patent infringement case in Texas against one of iTunes biggest podcasters, Adam Carolla’s Ace Broadcasting.

If the outcome of the case is anything like Personal Audio’s previous cases, it could have a major impact on podcasters and other content creators on iTunes and elsewhere. Personal Audio also sued and entered licensing agreements with Sirius XM Radio, Archos, Coby, RIM, Samsung, Amazon, and Motorola related to its downloadable playlist patents and others.

The new patent, issued just last year on Feb. 7, 2012, is quite broad and describes a “System for Disseminating Media Content Representing Episodes in a Serialized Sequence.” Personal Audio is also suing the popular Howstuffworks.com series, which like Ace Broadcasting, is a large podcasting presence on iTunes and across the web…

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January 9, 2013

Amongst the crowded booths of case makers and Bluetooth speaker products at CES, today we came across a few interesting new iOS accessories hitting the market in the near future. The first is the i-Massager from China-based company E-Tek. The i-Massager is a certified medical TENS product (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that uses an iPhone app to control the frequency and intensity of the massaging pulsations it emits. The app will be available on the App Store when the product eventually launches sometime in March, and it provides access to preset massage patterns while also allowing you to fine tune the experience and even save your preference to the unit for use without your iPhone at a later date. There will be a 30-pin version of the product for iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3, but also a Bluetooth variant that will launch for compatibility with Lightning iOS devices. The company hasn’t set a retail price, but hinted it should be well under $100.

The i-Massager wasn’t the only iOS-connected massage product being shown off at CES today. Below is a product called iMusic BodyRhythm. It is a massaging vest that syncs with the music on your iOS device. The product launched on a Kickstarter this morning, and it comes with a companion app that will allow you to select a song to sync the massage to, increase the intensity, and even play drums or shake the device to control the thumping of the massage while playing along to a song. You’ll also be able to use the massage vest without syncing it to music or an app. iMusic BodyRhythm is supposed to hit mass production for $149 retail in March, but we went hands-on today at CES:

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January 8, 2013

Apple-guy-CES-2013

While just about every major tech company in the industry has decided to show off its latest product lineups at CES 2013 this week, Apple (and Microsoft—not including a Ballmer cameo for Qualcomm) is of course not making an appearance. Apple hasn’t attended CES in an official capacity since John Sculley’s keynote introduction of the Newton in 1992, but Apple employees have been known to show up and walk around the show floor to get a peek at the latest products from the competition. This year, CES 2013 is no different. Apple employee Craig Keithley, the company’s I/O technology evangelist, was spotted by 9to5Mac walking through the Las Vegas Convention Center. Keithley politely declined a comment and continued through the LVCC’s North Hall. Full-sized image here expand full story

Cashwrap-Incipio

Live from the CES show floor at the Las Vegas convention center, accessory maker Incipio just finished showing us their new product for iPhone. Known as a Cashwrap, and landing in March 2013, it is an NFC-enabled iPhone case that allows iOS users to take advantage of the ISIS Mobile Wallet service that officially launched in October on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon for NFC-enabled Android devices in select regions. Incipio also informed us that it has teamed up with AT&T on the project—making Cashwrap AT&T’s ISIS solution for iPhone coming.

The product will launch for iPhone 4 and 4S initially and will be available for sale through AT&T brick-and-mortar locations for $60 to $70. Incipio’s full press release and a short video of the Cashwrap up close and personal from the CES show floor below: expand full story

January 7, 2013

Eton-Solar-CES-2013

Eton, a company known for its hand-cranked, turbine-powered radios and audio accessories, today announced a few interesting new solar powered products for iOS devices. The new lineup includes the Rugged Rukus, and the Rukus XL (pictured above), two new solar-powered Bluetooth speakers, both of which include the ability to charge devices through a built-in USB port and more. For those familiar with Eton’s already available Rukus Solar speaker, the new models are essentially its bigger and smaller siblings, but definitely left us impressed at the CES Unveiled event… expand full story

January 6, 2013

IMG_3621

Straight from the CES Unveiled event in Las Vegas, audio accessory maker Ion just introduced us to one if its latest creations— a hardware DJ controller kit called “Scratch 2 Go” that puts a physical crossfader, two sets of three control knobs for pitch, EQ, etc., and a two small platters right on the display of your iPad. The company also announced updated versions of its other DJ and Guitar controllers for iPad and iPhone…

The hardware controls attach to your iPad’s display via suction cups and essentially work like a stylus, allowing you to control elements of several DJ apps on the App Store. The hardware controls are designed specifically for the iDJ 2GO app that will also work with Ion’s just announced updated Lightning version of its iDJ 2 Go hardware DJ controls. However, Ion confirmed to us that it would also work with the popular djay app for iPad.

It could also work with other iOS DJ apps provided the stylus-like tip of any particular element of the 5-piece kit lines up with the controls inside the app you’re using. Ion is making the new Scratch 2 Go kit available in April for $30 through select retailers.

A video of the kit in action from the CES show floor below:

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Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater 01

Belkin-Home-Theatre-CaseWe just looked at the latest range of audio accessories from Griffin, and now well-known accessory maker Belkin is showing off a new audio product for CES 2013: The Belkin Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater. Available starting this month on the Apple Store, the otherwise traditional-looking iPad case packs in front-facing ported speakers, thanks to a little help from Audifi, and doubles as a stand with various angles.

The case works as a dock, meaning Belkin will release two models to accommodate for both 30-pin and Lightning connectors. Belkin is also making a free companion app available that will allow users to customize sound profiles for different types of media. The Thunderstorm app isn’t available yet in the App Store, but it should début alongside the 30-pin version of the Thunderstorm Handheld Home Theater case sometime this month. A lightning-compatible version of the dock will become available in the spring. Both models will sell for $199.99 from Amazon, the Apple Store, and additional retailers.

We’ll bring you full hands-on from the CES show floor shortly.

Update: We had a chance to listen to the product on a loud crowd floor. While the sound was definitely a significant improvement over the built-in iPad capability, it was a little tinny/thin and didn’t add as much base as we would have liked.  We’ll have more when we get some hands-on time later.

Updated Gallery below: expand full story

Griffin CES 2013 audio products

The 9to5Mac crew just touched down in Las Vegas for CES and to kick things off we have a slew of new products from Griffin, many of which we plan to get our hands on next week during the show.

First off, it’s introducing a new lineup of audio accessories including an updated Lightning version of the Studio Connect interface for iPad it launched last year (full review here). The new version will be available May 2013 for $149.99. We also get Griffin’s new Mic Stand Mount. It is a $39.99 iPad stand that works like a traditional microphone performance stand. Lastly for audio products, Griffin is launching an XLR to 3.5mm mic to bring studio-quality recording to iPads Griffin-PowerDock5-CES-2013and iPhones (it’s available June 2013, but we hope to bring you a full review of the MicConnect soon).

Pictured to the right is another new accessory Griffin has at CES. The $99.99 charging cradle is known as the Power Dock 5. The dock accommodates iOS devices with cases and holds up to five full-sized iPads. It also launched the new WoodTones headphones made from responsibly harvested Beech, Sapele, and Walnut woods (pictured at top)

Griffin Crayola CES 2013

Griffin isn’t stopping there, as it is also launching a ton of new iOS accessories aimed at children including a partnership with Crayola to bring a digital stylus shaped like a thick Crayola marker ($29.99 with a free companion app this spring). Other kids’ products include the Crayola Color & Play Workstation. Griffin described it as an “all-in-one iPad workstation that includes a built-in carrying handle and three storage cubbies for their crayons, markers and digital coloring tools like ColorStudio HD and DigiTools.”

The company is also teaming up with Nickelodeon to bring SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Dora the Explorer themed iOS accessories to market. Finally, it will show off its latest in the children’s KaZoo lineup with “new headphones, iPod touch cases, a charms lanyard kit and kid-friendly AUX cables themed after animals.” expand full story

January 4, 2013

1977CES02
This is what CES looked like the last time Apple attended. J/K. Via the Verge

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show is almost here, with official CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center opening up next week on Jan. 8. To kick things off, hundreds of companies and the press will invade Las Vegas this weekend for three days of pre-show product demos, press conferences, and more from the majority of the tech industry’s biggest names. Samsung, Sony, NVIDIA, Intel, Toshiba, and LG are just a few of the companies with scheduled announcements, but there will surely be more than a few surprises with over 3,000 exhibitors setting up shop. Apple’s last official appearance at CES was in 1992 with John Sculley’s keynote introduction of the Newton, but its presence at the show remains with hundreds of new Apple-related products unveiled every year.

9to5Mac is on its way to Vegas to bring you full coverage of the best products from the show. But, until then, here’s a wrap-up of what we already know will be there and what else you can expect to see at CES 2013:

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January 3, 2013

Facebook-voice-record

Facebook is updating its Messenger iOS and Android app today with a couple of really interesting new features: the ability to record short voice messages, and a free calling service that utilizes users’ existing data plans but not their call allowance. Facebook noted on the app’s iTunes page that the calling service will roll out in the next few weeks, while the other features appear to be available to users today.

The new voice message feature will allow all users to record a voice message through a new record button (pictured above), but The Next Web explained Facebook is limiting the new VoIP calling feature to Canadian users initially. The app isn’t live on the U.S. store, but it has already landed in Canada and should be available everywhere soon.

To use the service, Canadian users will be able to log into their Messenger app, open a conversation with the person they want to call, hit the ‘i’ button in the top-right corner and selecting ‘Free Call.’ To send and receive calls, users will need to have the latest version of the app that is available today. expand full story

ComScore Nov 2012 platform

According to the latest numbers from comScore MobiLens for the United States mobile phone market, Apple and Samsung both continue to gain marketshare as the leading OEMs as Android and iOS move closer toward a duopoly with a combined almost 90 percent of the market. ComScore’s latest numbers track the three-month period ending in November, which saw Apple jump from 17.1-percent in August to 18.5-percent of the U.S. mobile phone market. Samsung continued its lead jumping up 1.2-percent to 26.9-percent, while gains for both companies come at the expense of decreases in market share for LG, Motorola, and HTC.

ComScore Nov 2012 OEMsAs for the U.S. market by platform, iOS and Android both experience slight gains over August numbers. With a joint 88.7-percent of the market for Apple and Google, RIM is the closest competitor dropping from 8.3-percent of the market in August to just 7.3-percent in November. Microsoft dropped from 3.6-percent to 3 percent:

In November, 75.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device (up 0.3 percentage points). Downloaded applications were used by 54.2 percent of subscribers (up 0.8 percentage points), while browsers were used by 52.1 percent (up 0.1 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 0.9 percentage points to 39.2 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 33.7 percent of the mobile audience, while 28.7 percent listened to music on their phones (up 0.4 percentage points).

January 2, 2013

iWatch-concept-02Rumor has it Apple is working on a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled smart watch and could even launch the device as early as the first half of this year. This is according to the latest rumor originating from supply chain sources in China. There isn’t much to back up the report’s claim that Intel is collaborating with Apple on the device (perhaps Intel has competitive mobile chips on the way? Or the whole thing might be B.S.), but there is a lot going for the prospect of an Apple smart watch in 2013.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the rumors. In December 2011, The New York Times published an article that noted a “very small group of Apple employees had been conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices.” One of those ideas was apparently a “curved-glass iPod” that users would wear on their wristand control with Siri.

Evidence from patents exists as well, such as this liquid metal patent, another for a cellular antenna, and many more that mention integrating features into an iPod nano-like wristwatch form factor. Apple also recently refreshed the iPod nano lineup back to the longer, rectangle shape of previous iPods, giving it a 2.5-inch display and moving away from the small, 1.5-inch square design introduced with the sixth gen. The ability to purchase watch straps for the square, sixth-gen nano was a major feature for many customers, so the move back to a rectangle, 2.5-inch nano could indicate Apple is making room for a full-fledged nano watch in the near future.

Apple is clearly experimenting with the form factor, the question is what will it have to do to make a captivating iWatch experience and create a new product market? And is that early 2013 launch realistic?… expand full story

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