Apple’s HomeKit partner Honeywell launches Lyric smart thermostat Nest competitor

With Apple stepping into the home automation arena by way of offering closer device integration through its new HomeKit API announced alongside iOS 8, just about every appliance in the home is potential for being refreshed and gaining deeper connectivity with our iPhones and iPads. Honeywell, a launch partner for Apple’s new home automation development tools, is today announcing its new Lyric smart thermostat to compete against similar offerings from competitors like the now Google-owned Nest. Read more

Apple makes a cameo in Beats’ epic World Cup ad (Video)

Apple’s iPhone and MacBook both made appearances in Beats’ new headphones ad celebrating the World Cup. Apple, of course, announced that it is buying Beats Electronics for $3 billion last week, a deal it expects to be approved by the end of September, and featured a Beats plug earlier this week at WWDC when Dr. Dre was phoned in to the keynote and Eddy Cue was photographed wearing Beats headphones… Read more

In the midst of Apple acquisition, Beats tries to solidify its high end (sound) rep with new Solo2 cans

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We’re less than 24 hours removed from Apple announcing its acquisition of Beats and the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine headphone empire has already announced a new product.

The Beats Solo2 headphones are a follow-up to the massively popular Solo model that sold nearly four units every minute last year. It seems that Beats has addressed one of the biggest criticisms of previous models. Some said they were too bass-heavy which resulted in what some critics called “poorly-mixed hip-hop sound”.

The Solo2 headphone has a more dynamic, wider range of sound, with a clarity that will bring you closer to what the artist intended, whether you’re into hip-hop, heavy metal, jazz, electronic, or country.

These new cans sport a nearly identical design, while some tweaks have been made to increase overall comfort.

…the frame of the headphone has been curved like never before, giving the Solo2 a custom-fit feeling. The earcups have been ergonomically angled to complete this natural fit, with pivots for optimal comfort and sound delivery. Finally, the earcups’ premium material helps dissipate heat and minimize sound leakage.

Apple obviously had no impact on this product release since the deal isn’t expected to be finalized until the company’s fiscal Q4 of this year, but it’s interesting to see Beats trying to shake of some its old stigmas to appeal to audiophiles as well as music listeners who put bass and fashion first.

The Solo2 headphones are now available for preorder for $199.95 in a range of colors from Best Buy, beatsbydre.com, and are expected to hit other authorized retailers late this week… Read more

Spotify CEO: I’ve always assumed Apple would offer a streaming service

If Apple does indeed reach a deal to acquire Beats Electronics and announce it this week as expected, the clock is once again counting down to offer up your take on the whole scenario before it’s actually official. Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson got that opportunity earlier this week thanks in part to Dan Lyons of Fake Steve Jobs fame; Isaacson told Lyons he believes the expected $3.2 billion acquisition by Apple is all about creating a world class video service led by Beats’ co-founder Jimmy Iovine.

But when you think about Beats and what the company has to offer for Apple, the subscription music service launched by the company in January earlier this year comes to mind. Spotify, of course, dominates in this space as seen by the company’s announcement today that they now have 10 million paid subscribers and 40 million active users. Read more

Dutch appeals court upholds ban on Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Ace

Samsung Galaxy S II and iPhone 4 (front, side)

A Dutch appeals court today upheld a 2011 decision that banned the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy S II and Galaxy Ace phones, as noted by Re/code. The devices in question were found to have infringed on Apple’s design in an earlier ruling and blocked from sale.

Apple’s original intent was to get an injunction against all Galaxy devices, but the company was forced to settle instead for just the two devices listed above.

Even though Apple and Google recently decided to settle their differences, thus halting the “thermonuclear warfare” instigated by former CEO Steve Jobs, there’s no indication that Apple plans to stop going after Samsung or other manufacturers directly any time soon. In fact, Samsung was recently found to have infringed on Apple’s design yet again with some of its newer devices and order to pay nearly $120 million in damages.

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Beats co-founder Steven Lamar brings royalty claim, reveals the company’s early Apple connection

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Unveil Beats By Dr. Dre 2011 Holiday Product Line-Up

Steven Lamar, who helped create Beats headphones in 2006, has filed a complaint against Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine claiming he’s owed royalties on most of the company’s latest headphones, according to the Hollywood Reporter. In the complaint, Lamar recounts the earliest connection between Beats and Apple—and that the Cupertino company was almost the first Beats distributor.

Back in 2006, Lamar first hatched the idea for a line of celebrity-endorsed headphones. He took the idea to Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine and asked if Dr. Dre would be the celebrity sponsor. Lamar worked with a firm called Pentagram to create the first design for what would become Beats headphones.

That’s when Ivovine introduced Lamar to Apple retail VP Jerry McDougal. Lamar suggested to McDougal that Beats headphones should be sold in Apple retail stores, even going so far as to design the packaging around that very idea. McDougal introduced Lamar to Don Inmon, the man responsible for product placement in Apple’s retail stores.

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Google acquires Word Lens app recently featured in Apple’s iPhone ad “Powerful”

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 12.58.57 PM

Google just bought the company behind a smartphone app called Word Lens that visually translates text in real life scenarios right on your device using the camera and some behind-the-scenes intelligence.

With Word Lens, we’ve seen the beginnings of what’s possible when we harness the power of mobile devices to “see the world in your language.”

By joining Google, we can incorporate Quest Visual’s technology into Google Translate’s broad language coverage and translation capabilities in the future.

As a thank you to everybody who supported us on our journey, we’ve made both the app and the language packs free to download for a limited time while we transition to Google.

We’re looking forward to continuing our work at Google – stay tuned!

The kicker? Word Lens was recently featured rather prominently in Apple’s latest iPhone ad “Powerful” and even listed on Apple’s microsite promoting the film as an app to explore. Read more

MOG founder and former Beats Music CEO suing Beats for $20 million ahead of expected Apple buy

Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine And Luke Wood Launch The Beats By Dr. Dre Pill At The Beats Store In Soho, NY

Luke Wood, Jimmy Iovine, & Dr. Dre

Just as Apple is expected to close on a deal with Beats Electronics as soon as next week, a new report from The Wrap shares that David Hyman, the founder of music service MOG which Beats purchased, is suing the headphones and streaming music company for at least $20 million plus interest.

The suit claims that, under an incentive plan adopted during Hyman’s tenure, he would be entitled to compensation including 2.5 percent of the company’s “currently outstanding equity interests,” with 1 percent due on the first anniversary of Hyman’s date of employment, and subsequent installments due in subsequent months. The suit also claims that he was promised a grant of 25 percent of the company’s outstanding equity interests following adoption of the incentive plan if the company achieved a fair market value of $500 million or more.

Hyman served as founder and CEO of the MOG music service for seven years until Beats Electronics purchased it for $14 million in May 2012. Hyman stayed on to head the music service that is now Beats Music where he served as CEO for just seven months.

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Seagate expands iPhone/iPad-connected Wireless Plus lineup to include 500GB & 2TB mobile external drives

Seagate announced today that it is expanding its Wireless Plus external hard drives to include both a larger storage capacity and a more affordable offering as well. Joining the 1TB Seagate Wireless Plus mobile external drive announced last year is a new 500GB drive creating a lower price point and a new 2TB drive doubling the storage capacity in the lineup… Read more

Samsung attempts to preempt Apple’s Healthbook launch with a health-focused event of its own in late May

Image via Engadget

Image via Engadget

Samsung has just announced a health-focused event that will take place on May 28th, just days before Apple is set to unveil its next-generation mobile and desktop operating systems at WWDC, including the expected announcement of the company’s Healthbook software.

We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume that Samsung really wants to take credit for kicking off the “health” craze and capture as much attention as possible as the “first” to the game, but will likely end up sorely disappointed when Apple comes along and dominates the news cycle the following week. Again.

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Former iPhone camera engineers create 360-degree video camera

CENTR, a startup created by a group of former iPhone camera engineers, has developed a video camera that creates 360-degree views, allowing viewers to pan around the image during playback.

CENTR allows you to capture your experiences and share them in a whole new way. Capture 360° video in real-time on a camera that fits in the palm of your hand. With decades of experience working on cameras at Apple, the CENTR team knows what it takes to bring beautiful design and groundbreaking technology together in one product …

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Hulu announces free viewing coming to mobile this summer

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At Hulu’s Upfront event in New York today, the streaming media company announced some interesting news for cable cutters and entertainment indulgers. Beginning this summer, viewers without paid Hulu Plus accounts will be able to view full episodes of TV shows via the Hulu mobile apps at no cost. The content will still be ad-supported, of course, as even paid members are exposed to advertising, but content will include full TV episodes. Currently, only Hulu members with a paid subscription can access content on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad and free viewing is restricted to the web. Additionally, Hulu says the company will release “the next generation” of its Hulu Plus app for iPhone around the same time this summer. Read more