Review: AAXA’s ST200 LED Pico Projector beams bright, color-accurate HD video from an Apple TV-sized box

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Even though I’ve had a fair bit of experience with video projectors, I took Celluon’s PicoPro somewhat for granted when I reviewed it this January. I praised the pocket-sized projector, which squeezed a 720p laser video display and speaker into the footprint of an iPhone 6 Plus, but I didn’t triple-underscore how much easier it was to use than most of its rivals. PicoPro worked so well and so quietly with such little effort that I hardly thought about it.

AAXA’s ST200 Short Throw LED Pico Projector ($299) is the newest of the traditional projectors PicoPro is challenging. It has roughly the same footprint and 1280×720 resolution as PicoPro, but it’s around 2.5 times thicker, since it uses a lightbulb-illuminated LED projection engine — just like almost every other projector on the market. There’s an audible fan inside, and because ST200 needs to power that fan and the lightbulb, it can’t match PicoPro in battery life. It also requires more manual user adjustment when you’re setting it up.

But ST200 is a markedly better video projector and audio device when judged on raw output quality, and less expensive, besides. If you’re looking for a compact way to display 720p video from an Apple TV, Mac, or iOS device at up to a 100″ diagonal size, ST200 delivers brighter, more color-accurate video output than PicoPro, more powerful speaker output, and — if you appreciate this — many more settings to play with. Read on for the details…

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Apple/IBM partnership piloting scheme with Japan Post to monitor the elderly

Apple IBM Japan Post

A low-tech scheme where postal workers from Japan Post check-in on how elderly residents are doing is about to go hi-tech with the help of iPads, reports the WSJ. The pilot scheme – one of the fruits of the Apple/IBM partnership – will see Japan Post hand out free iPads to 1,000 older citizens to allow closer and more frequent checks.

“By handing iPads to the elderly, we can closely check in on them more often—not only confirming if they are doing fine but also making sure that they are not involved in any trouble like a scam targeting the elderly,” a Japan Post official said on Thursday.

Data from the iPads will be analyzed by IBM’s Watson computer, reports Nikkei
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The best Mac and iPad keyboards

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Keyboards are important — so important that many people won’t “work” on their iPads without real keys to type on. No one complained when desktop mice gave way to laptop trackpads, or when trackpads evolved into tablet touchscreens, but the switch from physical to virtual keyboards has been met with plenty of resistance… specifically because virtual keyboards offer no resistance. There’s something about the responsive, up and down movement of actual keys, known as “travel,” that people clearly prefer over tapping on completely flat glass.

I’ve tested a lot of keyboards, and since I rely upon them professionally every day, I have some strong opinions as to the best options for different types of Mac and iPad users. You might be surprised by my advice, as it bucks a couple of Apple’s trends (“smaller!” “thinner!”), but if you’re like me, you’ll be a much happier typist if you “think different” on this topic than the folks in Cupertino…

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Samsung reclaims top smartphone maker title from Apple

gs6-vs-iphone-6

Strategy Analytics has a new report out that estimates that Samsung has once again become the number one smartphone manufacturer by units shipped. Although Samsung doesn’t officially report unit numbers, the analytics firm is estimating 83 million smartphones sold worldwide for the company. IDC is also reporting similar numbers.

Apple, which does report the number of iPhones it shipped, sold 61 million iPhones in the last quarter. This is a new record for Apple (which became the #1 manufacturer during the previous quarter with the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus) but is clearly outstripped by Samsung’s (estimated) number by about 20 million units.

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Pixelmator for Mac adds Force Touch pressure-sensitive painting, even better Repair Tool, more

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.28.02 PM

The developers behind Pixelmator have just released another free update to the Mac app, available in the Mac App Store ($29.99). Despite the bug-fix identifier, Version 3.3.2 packs some cool enhancements to support Apple’s latest technologies and hardware.

For one, as demoed in the screenshot above, Pixelmator brushes now support Force Touch so you can draw with multiple levels of pressure by pressing harder on the touchpad of your new Retina MacBook (or early 2015 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro). This is useful for quick adjustments although serious painters will still want to use dedicated drawing tablets. The update also adds support for the Photos app and a revamped Repair Tool …

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iPad app outage affects a “a few dozen” American Airlines flights

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Update: American Airlines has confirmed that the problem was with a bad update to the Jepson app that added Ronald Reagan Airport map. The app provides maps of runways and more information to pilots. Until the app can be fixed, the airline has informed pilots of a workaround to prevent future delays.

Two years ago, American Airlines replaced the paper versions of its cockpit documents with iPad flight bags on all planes. At the time, the airline touted that the switch would both save money for the company and make the lives of pilots easier. This evening, however, more than several dozen American Airlines flights have been affected by an outage related to the app used by American Airlines pilots. Many flights have been delayed and passengers forced to exit the planes.

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Test iPad stolen from Cupertino home, not yet recovered

Apple's latest iPad Air 2 tablet

Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 tablet

Mercury News reports that an iPad test model was one of the items stolen in a robbery and kidnapping that took place at a Cupertino house earlier this month. Specific details regarding the device are sparse at this point, although it has not yet been recovered. The victim of the robbery was a 20-year old man who was also kidnapped after responding to an online advertisement from a woman. The victim is thankfully safe following the incident.

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Review: Vinsic’s 20,000mAh ultra slim Power Bank can power your 12-inch MacBook anywhere

Vinsic ultra slim power bank

The new USB-C port on Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook (review) is both a gift and a curse. If you frequently connect legacy USB peripherals to your notebook, then you’ll have to deal with using an adapter between your old gear and your new laptop each time (and should possibly consider another machine for now). The move from Apple’s proprietary MagSafe 2 connection to the new industry standard USB Type C port for charging, however, opens up the door to third-party power adapters and portable battery packs.

During my initial MacBook evaluation, I verified this possibility with a 13,000mAh portable battery pack I had on hand. Vinsic’s 20,000mAh ultra slim power bank is a giant battery that offers even more juice for your iPhone, iPad, or 12-inch MacBook with a sleek design and an LED status indicator…

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Apple says it will reject Apple Watch apps that just tell the time, more first-party faces may be coming soon

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Apple has today added a new guideline to the App Store Review Guidelines, the first clause specifically targeted at Apple Watch development. This rule that Watch apps that only tell time will be rejected has actually been enforced since Apple started accepting WatchKit submissions as many developers complained to find their apps had been rejected for this reason. The documentation change now formalizes this rule into an official policy.

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Apple announces Q2 2015 revenue of $58b: 61.1m iPhones, 12.6m iPads, 4.5m Macs

Christy Turlington Burns & Tim Cook

Apple is out with its Q2 2015 earnings results today reporting $58 billion in revenue including $13.6 billion in profit earned during the first three months of this year.

Apple® today announced financial results for its fiscal 2015 second quarter ended March 28, 2015. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $58 billion and quarterly net profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $45.6 billion and net profit of $10.2 billion, or $1.66 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.8 percent compared to 39.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 69 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Aside from revenue and profit, Apple disclosed sales numbers or revenue for the these categories:

  • iPhone: 61.1 million units
  • iPad: 12.6 million units
  • Mac: 4.5 million units

Totals:

  • Revenue: $58 billion
  • EPS: $2.33 per share

Apple CEO Tim Cook had this to say:

“We are thrilled by the continued strength of iPhone, Mac and the App Store, which drove our best March quarter results ever,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re seeing a higher rate of people switching to iPhone than we’ve experienced in previous cycles, and we’re off to an exciting start to the June quarter with the launch of Apple Watch.”

Apple CFO Luca Maestri added:

“The tremendous customer demand for our products and services in the March quarter drove revenue growth of 27 percent and EPS growth of 40 percent,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “Cash flow from operations was also outstanding at $19.1 billion.”

Following last quarter’s record revenue and blockbuster iPhone numbers, the attention today ahead of the call largely focused on if Apple could maintain strong iPhone numbers after the initial launch and holiday season. Apple has previously shared that it does not plan to disclose Apple Watch sales numbers, which began earlier this month and will be included in the “Other” category with iPods during the company’s next quarterly report.

Apple’s Q2 2015 numbers compare to last quarter’s results of $74.6 billion in revenue and sales of 74 million iPhones, 21.4 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs. For the same quarter a year ago, Apple reported $45.6 billion in revenue and sales of 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads, and 4.1 million Macs. Compare also to profit last quarter of $18 million and a year ago of $9.5 billion.

Apple will hold its conference call soon at 2 PM Pacific/5 PM Eastern to discuss the company’s quarterly report. Stay tuned for our coverage of the call. Cook and Maestri typically share prepared remarks then address product and financial questions from analysts on the call.

The full Q2 earnings report is below: Read more

Apple TV adds NBC Sports channel with live event streaming

NBC Sports Apple TV

Apple has refreshed its channel lineup on the Apple TV to include NBC Sports Live Extra. The channel provides “thousands of live sporting events that air on NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel” for free. Aside from live content, the channel includes loads of highlights and replays of sporting events to view at no charge; NBC Sports Live Extra users can activate the full channel (including content from CNBC, USA, and NBC) by verifying a cable subscription.

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