Beats announces Solo2 wireless headphones as first new product under Apple ownership

Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones

Following our exclusive report of FCC documents revealing that Beats was working on a new pair of headphones, the accessory maker this morning has announced its brand new Solo2 wireless headphones as its first new product since being acquired by Apple for $3 billion earlier this year. The headphones are set to launch in the United States this month at Apple Stores and select retailers for $299.95. Read more

Fitbit fitness tracking lineup dropped from Apple Online Store

Apple Watch fitness

Apple Watch will include fitness and health tracking features

Update: Fitbit statement below the fold…

If you’re in the market for a Fitbit device and you’re shopping at the Apple Store, you’ll probably have to shop elsewhere to purchase the fitness tracker. Following report from Re/Code last month that Apple planned to drop the Fitbit line of wearable devices from its Apple Store lineup, Apple has today removed the Fitbit Flex and other Fitbit products from its online store following low inventory over the past week. While its unclear why Apple is no longer selling Fitbit products through its retail channels, on the surface the move is similar to Apple’s decision to discontinue selling Bose headphones and speakers at its retail and online stores.

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Move over, Samsung: Lenovo takes the prize for most shameless Apple ripoff

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If imitation truly is the sincerest form of flattery, then the designers at Lenovo must adore the iPhone 6.

Samsung has caught a lot of flak for—and been taken to court over—some of its iPhone-like smartphone design choices, but nothing the Korean company has ever produced comes close to the shamelessly derivative Lenovo S90. Not only does the S90 seem to take more than a few design cues from Apple’s latest smartphone, but its entire advertising campaign seems to be a carbon copy of Apple’s own.

Take, for example, the image above (found on Weibo, via PhoneArena). If it looks a little familiar to you, that might be because it’s the exact same thing you’ll find on Apple’s iPhone webpage. There are about ten of these images total, and nearly all of them look like they were ripped right from Apple’s website.

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Amazon announces Echo, a dedicated, Siri-like speaker system for quick information

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Siri but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one, lol), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Hey Siri,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage, but music should work fine via iOS.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone and delivery drones, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these untested things.

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Passcode vs. Touch ID: A Legal Analysis

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[Ed. note: Jason Stern is a Criminal Defense Attorney in private practice in New York City]

8:34 am. A college professor receives a text message threatening to blow up the history building. The professor immediately contacts law enforcement, who trace the origin of the call to a student who lives off-campus.

When FBI agents arrive at the student’s residence, they arrest the student and seize his smartphone. In an attempt to search the device to recover evidence of the crime (and perhaps stop other related crimes), they find the smartphone is protected by fingerprint security measures.

With the suspect in handcuffs, the agent swipes the student’s finger across the phone to access his call history and messages. Once the FBI swipes the suspect’s finger and bypasses the biometric security, the phone asks for the student’s passcode. The FBI agent asks for his password but the student refuses to speak. How can the FBI agent access the phone? Whereas a fictional Federal Agent like Jack Bauer would simply pull out his gun, jam it in the suspect’s mouth and scream, “WHERE IS THE BOMB?”, in our example, the FBI agent would hit the proverbial brick wall.

Yes, the phone could be brought back to the lab for analysis and hacking by forensics personnel, but the suspect in this case could not be forced to disclose the password on the phone… Read more

EFF: Apple’s iMessage most secure “mass-market” messaging, lacks complete protection from targeted surveillance

EFF-Secure-Messaging-Scoreboard-01

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today released a report examining three dozen messaging services and ranking them based on what it deemed are seven “security best practices.” While Apple scored the best among what the EFF called “mass-market options”, it didn’t do as well when compared to all 36 messaging services included in the report. Specifically, EFF noted Apple’s iMessage and FaceTime services failed to offer “complete protection against sophisticated, targeted forms of surveillance.” Read more

Report: US carriers experience huge surge in VoLTE with iPhone 6/6Plus, 3G calls down one-fifth

iPhone6_VoLTE_increase_Nov2014

Following the introduction of Voice-over-LTE technology with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which increases call quality by routing calls through an LTE network opposed to last generation 3G networks, US carriers have experienced a big increase in VoLTE calls. That’s according to a new report from Newfield Wireless that highlights a decrease for calls over 3G by about one-fifth compared to previous generation iPhones and other LTE-capable devices:

The majority of voice calls made on other 4G-enabled devices are currently routed through legacy 2G and 3G networks, due to the fact that not all networks and devices are optimised to deliver next-generation voice services. iPhone 6 devices are VoLTE-compatible and as a result, U.S. networks have experienced a surge in VoLTE calls since the September launch.

The report also shared some other data points from its research noting a few stats for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus uptake compared to previous generations: Read more

Jawbone announces updated Up3 wristband, new Up Move clip-on movement tracker

Image via GigaOm

Image via GigaOm

Jawbone announced two new additions to its family of wearable products tonight. The first new device is the Jawbone Up3, which sports a seven-day battery and a capacitive touch sensor on top, as well as a new set of sensors for tracking health data. The new sensors allow the Up3 to detect data such as skin temperature, respiration, or hydration, although it currently has no way to track a user’s heart rate. That feature is said to be coming in a future update.

The Up3 will cost $180 when it launches, though Jawbone has given no indication of when exactly that will be.

The Jawbone Up Move will be the cheaper of the two…

Larry Page talks about his age-old fight with Steve Jobs over ‘doing too much stuff’

Larry Page

In an interview with the Financial Times, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page talked about an ongoing debate that he had with Apple’s Steve Jobs: whether their companies were doing too much or too little to affect the lives of their customers.

Page, as is evident in Google’s seemingly unending push into new markets and technologies outside of search and even the web, came down on the side of doing as many things as possible to make an impact in peoples’ lives, while Jobs was insistent that a focused approach on a single set of problems was better for the company and its users.

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AT&T increasing monthly data allotments on $40 and $70 service plans starting on November 2nd

AT&T-Data

AT&T announced today that it’s increasing the data allotment on two of its wireless service plans. Starting on Sunday, November 2nd, Ma Bell will begin offering 3GB of data for $40 per month and 6GB of date for $70 a month. Also sweetening the pot, AT&T is tossing in unlimited talk, text and international messaging at no additional charge.

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Trade-in service Gazelle begins selling certified pre-owned iPhones and iPads

Gazelle certified

Gazelle has long been a popular choice for conveniently turning a used iPhone or iPad into cash, and today the electronics trade-in service announced its own certified pre-owned store for buying “gently used devices” at a discounted price. While the pre-owned store lists categories including iPhone, cell phones, iPads, and tablets, Gazelle inventory is currently limited to pre-owned Apple devices including iPhone 4 and up, iPad 2 and up, and iPad mini. Read more

Apple’s market-leading tablet share falls to 22% against growing cheap media consumption options

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Worldwide unit shipments for the top 5 tablet plus 2-in-1 device vendors over last five quarters

New data from IDC tracking worldwide tablet shipments shows that Apple has maintained its lead during the third quarter despite “a decline in overall iPad shipment volume in 3Q14.” Specifically, Apple grabbed 22.8% of the market with 12.3 million shipments during the quarter compared to 14.1 million units and 29.2% share in the year ago quarter. That compares to Samsung at 18.3% of the market and 9.9 million units shipped up from 19.3% and 9.3 million units shipped in the third quarter last year: Read more