Seth Weintraub

@llsethj

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5 Sites.

  +SethWeintraub (850,000)

Seth Weintraub is an award winning journalist and blogger who won back to back Neal Awards during his three plus years  covering Apple and Google at IDG’s Computerworld from 20072010.  Weintraub next covered all things Google for Fortune Magazine from 2010-2011 amassing a thick rolodex of Google contacts.

It turns out that his hobby 9to5Mac.com blog was always his favorite and in 2011 he went full time adding his Fortune Google followers to 9to5Google.com and adding the 9to5Toys.com gear and deals site.

For 15 years, Weintraub was a Global IT director and Web Developer for a number of companies with stints at multimedia and branding agencies in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Madrid and London before becoming a publisher/blogger. Seth is a licensed single engin private pilot, certified open water diver and spent over a year traveling to 60 cities in 23 countries. Whatever free time exists is now guaranteed to his wife and two sons.

More at About.me.

Tips: seth@9to5mac.com, or llsethj on IM

Seth Weintraub's Recommended Gear

March 21, 2014

From 9to5Toys.com:

Screenshot 2014-03-21 10.12.36

Virgin Mobile, a Sprint subsidiary, is offering the iPhone 5s contract free for some pretty unheard of prices right now.  The 16GB iPhone 5s is going for $385 without a contract in Gold (best), Space Gray and White.  A 32GB iPhone 5s will run you $455 while a 64GB iPhone 5s will run you $525.

Screenshot 2014-03-21 10.19.18

Virgin is also slashing the prices on the iPhone 5c with the 16GB model in all colors is $315 while the 32GB model is $385. Those are easily the lowest prices we’ve seen for the current generation iPhones.

What’s the catch?

The catch, if you want to call it that, is that these are locked to Sprint’s Virgin subsidiary.  While Sprint’s 3G and 4G network isn’t always rated the best, it is nationwide and Virgin Mobile also has the lowest unlimited data plans starting at $30/month.

Also a little birdie told us that you can actually unlock the Virgin iPhones for about $130 at Chronic Unlocks giving you a new, unlocked iPhone 5s for just over $500. 

For those who were considering an iPhone but hesitated at the costs, that’s around $1000 bucks for a current generation iPhone and 2 years of unlimited data. You won’t find anything lower.

March 18, 2014

Former WSJ Apple writer Yukari Iwatani Kane’s long-awaited book based on more than 200 interviews with current and former executives and insiders goes on sale today  ($12.74 Amazon/$14.99 iBookstore/Free Audible Audiobook). We got an advance copy, and I enjoyed the first 85 pages or so of background including Steve Jobs’s transitioning the company during the last bout with his terminal cancer. This area  included some interesting new tidbits (did you know Apple almost sold the original iPad for $399?).

The middle of the book meanders somewhat aimlessly into the big stories after Steve Jobs’s death, but spending way too much time on Foxconn, the Samsung trial, the DOJ ebooks trial and patent minutia. I frankly had a hard time staying involved in some of these chapters because it was like re-reading old news reports with little new information to keep me satiated.

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March 14, 2014

From 9to5Toys.com:

ipad-air-refurb-apple-store

lm-tile-refurbipad_LANG_ENThe Apple Store just got filled with refurbished iPad Airs in a few varieties starting at $419 for 16GB and $509 for 32GB in both Space Grey or White. That’s $80/$90 off the new price and the lowest price we’ve seen for iPad Airs with Apple’s 1 year AppleCare warranty (we saw them new for $430 last week). Apple certified refurbished products look and act like new, come with all manuals and accessories, a new outer shell batter and come in a new white box.

Walmart still has refurbished iPad Airs for $399 but with a more dubious 90-day non-Apple warranty. Meanwhile, if you are after new iPad Airs, Staples currently has them for $50 off across the board.  expand full story

March 12, 2014

Screenshot 2014-03-12 14.06.13

From our Google Analytics logs, at around noon ET, over 70% of our site visits for the day came from iOS 7.1. I know our audience is at the tech-savvy end of the spectrum, but the number still impresses me, especially considering that many of the older iOS devices can’t even be updated and 7.1 isn’t yet Jailbreak-able.

It makes Chitika’s numbers look a little backwards.

As for iOS 8? Those numbers are growing pretty fast too (below).

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March 8, 2014

Corning-thunderbolt-optical-cable-reviewThe promise of the Thunderbolt standard is that it can deliver a lot of data over long distances very quickly for many types of devices. Unfortunately, that promise has been pretty slow to materialize, and the long distance piece of the equation has been particularly painful.

Corning is hoping to turn that around this year with the consumer launch of its Thunderbolt Optical Cables in 10 meter (33 foot), 30 meter (99 foot), and 60 meter (198 foot) sizes. With these lengths, you can put your Thunderbolt hard disk and arrays far away from your desk. If you have a Thunderbolt Display or a Thunderbolt dock, you can even move your Mac to the utility closet or basement and really clean up your desk space.

I’ve been using the 33-foot version for a few weeks and here’s my take: expand full story

March 7, 2014

Onkyo ES-CTI300-review

I’ve been on the search for the perfect headphones for my whole life.

Apple’s fall out of my ears if I think too hard and I even have problems keeping typical in-ear headphones in my ears when working out. Getting those weird things that go around my ears to hold them isn’t a great general purpose solution.  In-ear headphones also typically lack the depth of sound of over the ear headphones.

Unfortunately, over the ear headphones often lack the mic and iOS controls that you can easily get with in-ear headphones. Add that they are usually bulky and heavy and are too hot on the ears and you usually have a non-starter as a general purpose headset.

The Onkyo ES-CTI300(SS) On-Ear Headphones with Control Talk for iOS Devices aim to be the best of both worlds…

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March 4, 2014

March 2, 2014

There’s no real hard news at this talk given by Elon Musk this week but it is certainly interesting to see the back and forth with the iPhone Engineer (Evan Wong? Didn’t quite get the name) and the CEO of Tesla. Apple is of course rumored to be an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory so that makes the conversation all that more interesting. Some notes:

  • The engineer manages a big part of the hardware development of the iPhone.
  • Apple is one of the biggest buyers of batteries along with Tesla and they’ve done a lot of thorough testing
  • Chemistry, material, packaging and process affect  battery life constant.
  • Tesla buys 18650 form factor batteries and is sticking to them.
  • When musk asks about the energy density, the engineer knows not to say anything (he says he doesn’t want to get sued by his employer – to many laughs from the audience).
  • Musk assumes the battery energy density is public domain because of teardowns
  • Musk says in high production they can get to 260Wh/KG at the lowest price per kW which might be good info for those looking at the Gigafactory specs.
  • Apple likely can’t use these cells in their products because they are 18mm thick, much thicker than many of Apple’s products – or so speculates Musk

More of the conversation here. expand full story

February 24, 2014

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February 22, 2014

Bose-SoundlinkIII

I was a huge gushing fan of the Bose Soundlink Mini when I reviewed it this summer, calling it the “Best Sounding portable Bluetooth speaker ever”. For $199 you’d get bookshelf type of power and clarity with 6 hour battery in a portable package that you could throw in a coat pocket, bag, or purse.

This week, Bose started shipping a bigger version, the $299 Soundlink 3 which is officially the successor to the Soundlink 2 but it grabs a lot more technology, features and appearance from the very successful Mini.  The big bro ‘III’ boasts an impressive 14-hour battery, 6 Bluetooth device memory, and doubles the Mini with four drivers and two passive radiators. In the process it doubles in size to a 3-pound package that isn’t nearly as portable as the Mini at 5 inches high, 10 inches wide, and 2 inches deep.

But does that $100 and double size give you appreciably better sound?

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February 19, 2014

A few notes about this which all seem to point to my initial knee jerk reaction: Apple was invited to participate in Tesla’s US battery Gigafactory, which it will announce next week

In a Bloomberg interview , Tesla CEO Elon Musk said of a possible acquisition by anyone:

LIU: Elon, yesterday your shareholders got a little bit richer on these reports that you had met with the acquisition team at Apple. Is there any truth to a possible partnership, merger with Apple?
MUSK: Well of course it’s – if – if – if one or more companies had approached us last year about such things, there’s no way we could really comment on that.
LIU: Well did you have a conversation with Apple?
MUSK: We had conversations with Apple. I can’t comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition.
LIU: If anything, Elon, if Apple were to come to you and say, you know what? We want to get in the car business. We actually want to perhaps start making cars. What would you tell them, given your own experience?
MUSK: What would I tell Apple if they said they wanted to make cars?
LIU: Yeah.
MUSK: I’d probably tell them that I think it’s a great idea.

So Tesla wasn’t talking acquisition (which was pretty obvious if you follow the two companies) but he could have been shopping around the Lithium battery Gigafactory, and the likelihood of Apple being involved grew a little bit at Tesla’s earnings call earlier today.
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February 16, 2014

Those ongoing analyst predictions that Apple would buy Tesla may have been based on some sort of reality.  According the the SF ChronicleAdrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.

A source tells The Chronicle that Perica met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric car giant…

Six months before Ahmad’s letter, Musk met with Perica and probably Cook at Apple headquarters, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer.

But it is unlikely that Apple wanted to buy the car company and even more unlikely that Musk would sell it. In response to the acquisition rumors at the time, he tweeted the following:

But it’s highly likely that Apple would want to buy into one of Tesla’s major upcoming projects.

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February 15, 2014

As our families grow, so do our device charging needs. Where we just used to need 2 USB ports to charge our iPhones, we now have iPads, cameras, Bluetooth speakers, portable flashlight/batteries and even a few Android devices laying around that constantly need to be chargers. Our excellent 2-port ZaggSparq just couldn’t handle all of the stuff anymore. Time to step up to something more substantial.

Anker-reviewsWe’d heard great things about the new Anker IQ 40W 5V / 8A 5-Port Family-Size USB power supply. In fact, at Amazon where it can be nabbed on sale for $26, it gets almost exclusive 4 and 5 star ratings.

Anker hooked me up with a unit to test out at CES and I’ve relied on it since to keep our house full of devices charged. What’s particularly impressive about this one is that it has 40W of power to distribute through the 5 USB ports (a 25W one is a few bucks less). Anker’s new IQ does one better by recognizing high power requirements in devices like iPads, other tablets and even HPs new Chromebook and giving those devices the full 2-3 Amps of power they need to get charged quickly. Anker explains it thusly:

Not all USB ports are equal. Where past USB ports were hard-wired to exclusively charge iOS OR Android, we’re introducing Smart Port technology to create a truly universal charger. Dynamically adjusting to any device’s unique maximum charging speed, the Smart Port takes the brainwork out of compatibility.Just plug in and it’ll do the rest.

Were the reviews right? Was this the end to my USB charging woes?

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February 14, 2014

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February 9, 2014

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Review- Philips AJ7260D:37 Dual Dock Triple Charging Clock RadioIf you travel frequently for work, you’ve probably seen one of a number of 30-pin alarm clocks that have almost become standard at business hotels. That was great while we had 30-pin iOS devices, but now that we’ve mostly moved to Lightning, it is mostly just lip service – about as convenient and up to date as that wired room line phone installed next to the toilet.

Philips hopes to remedy the transition to Lightning with their new-ish AJ7260D/37 Dual Dock Triple Charging Clock Radio which retails for around $130. I’ve been using the alarm/clock radio for about a month now and here are my observations:

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February 8, 2014

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February 6, 2014

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February 5, 2014

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