Review: Cellulon’s PicoPro is an iPhone 6 Plus-sized, battery-powered HD projector

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I grew up with a front-projector TV the size of a coffee table, later owned a rear-projection TV that was somewhat larger than an adult bicycle, and have since tested projectors shaped like DVD players, Mac minis, and iPhone cases. Pico projectors — generally small enough to fit in pockets — typically struggle the most to prove their practicality. Projectors generally need big, powerful lightbulbs to be seen in anything but the dimmest of rooms, and the smaller they are, the worse they tend to be, particularly as they move further from the surfaces they’re protecting on.

Korean developer Celluon — the company behind breakthrough laser keyboards that can create typing surfaces anywhere — is now trying its hand at pico projectors, and I have to admit that I’m far more impressed than I thought I’d be. PicoPro ($349-$399) packs a high-definition video projector, a battery pack, and wireless capabilities into a 0.55″ thick enclosure with the same footprint as an iPhone 6 Plus. Overall, it’s the best small projector I’ve tested: much easier to use, quiet, and capable of delivering a better complete viewing experience. But like competing pico projectors, it also has some noteworthy limitations that you’ll want to be aware of before jumping in.

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Review: Libratone’s second-generation Loop brings Bluetooth to the AirPlay-only Danish speaker family

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AirPlay isn’t dead as a wireless speaker standard, but it’s not exactly healthy: many models have been discontinued, and new releases have all but stopped. Having previously gone all-in with AirPlay, Danish designer speaker maker Libratone is now rolling out updated versions of its circular Loop, tube-shaped Zipp, and triangular Live systems that augment AirPlay rather than ditching it. The new Libratone Loop ($500) modestly tweaks the prior version to add Bluetooth 4.0 support — a feature that radically increases Loop’s compatibility. Though its high price tag will continue to keep this model out of reach for most consumers, long-awaited and substantial discounts on the prior-generation models (Loop here, Zipp here, Live here) may bolster their appeal.

Having tested the new Loop, my personal feelings are mixed: I applaud Libratone for consistently releasing speakers that look distinctive, working both as design objects and audio systems, but the MSRPs remain somewhat hard to justify given the sonic performance…

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Google Cast for audio is an AirPlay competitor for music streaming from Android, iOS & web

Google today announced Google Cast for audio, which the company says takes advantage of Chromecast tech to send audio to third-party hardware like speakers, A/V receivers, and sound bars. The feature will allow users to tap a “cast” button from within music and radio apps on Android, iOS and the web to stream audio to Google Cast enabled speakers. Read more

2013 Apple TV revision gets its first exclusive feature: iOS 8’s Peer-to-Peer AirPlay

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When Apple released Apple TV software update 7.0 earlier this month, it came with support for new iOS 8 features including the new Peer-to-Peer AirPlay feature. First announced when Apple unveiled iOS 8 earlier this year, Peer-to-Peer AirPlay allows users on iOS 8 and the upcoming OS X Yosemite release to stream content to an Apple TV without having to connect to the same wireless network. What we didn’t know at the time, however, is that the feature is limited to only the latest Apple TV hardware: Read more

NFL Sunday Ticket streaming to be supported on iOS, Mac without a satellite subscription for 2014 season

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For the first time ever, users who do not subscribe to DirecTV service will have access to the NFL’s Sunday Ticket service on their mobile devices and computers for the 2014 season. During previous seasons, Sunday Ticket users had to have an active DirecTV satellite subscription to stream the games. While no official announcement has been made, DirecTV has published a promotional page for the service, advertising the fact that users can now “access live, out-of-market NFL games without a DIRECTV satellite TV account.

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Apple TV likely to gain Continuity this fall, allowing tighter integration with Mac & iOS

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Alongside the introduction of the current Apple TV design in fall 2010, Apple launched AirPlay. In short, AirPlay allows a user to watch a movie, listen to a song, or view a photo on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch (or Mac in some cases) and stream that content to the Apple TV. AirPlay typically works well and we have even considered it a major innovation in the living room appliances space. Apple has continued to enhance AirPlay over the past few years, allowing the service to integrate with iTunes in the Cloud and function without a WiFi connection.

With OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, Apple has taken the AirPlay idea to new levels. This fall, as Apple previewed at WWDC earlier this month, a user can begin writing an email, viewing a webpage, or sending a text message on one Apple device, and then walk up to a different Apple product and continue that action. This feature is called Handoff and is part of a new suite of features called Continuity. Unlike AirPlay, a click to stream the content is not necessary.

Now, users running the latest iOS, OS X, and Apple TV betas are reporting that Apple could also be working on Handoff and Continuity features for the Apple TV set-top box…

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Review: Beats Studio Wireless headphones (and what Apple can improve)

A few weeks before initial reports that Apple was planning to acquire Beats Electronics, I started AT&T’s three month trial of the Beats Music subscription streaming service.. Given that generous window of time, I felt more comfortable investing my time than I would with a one or two week trial. When news broke that Apple was in final talks to purchase Beats, I was caught off guard and immediately concerned that the subscription service that I was starting to really like would change under Apple’s watch. Since the deal has been made official, Apple has said that Beats Music will continue as it is (across multiple platforms even) as will the headphones line (Beats branded, not Apple branded) for now.

Because I was rather surprised by the appeal of Beats Music and Apple is now endorsing the headphones more than ever (even if only really for their massive profit margins), I got really curious Friday afternoon to try out a pair of Beats headphones first hand so I did just that. I’ve been using the Beats Studio Wireless headphones (Amazon) just about all waking hour of this weekend, and below you can read my thoughts on one of the products included in Apple’s biggest acquisition to date. Read more

NBC iOS app finally lets you AirPlay its free full-length episodes to Apple TV

NBC updated its mobile app for iPhone and iPad today with one big update for iOS and Apple TV users: the ability to AirPlay content from the mobile app to your TV via Apple TV.

The update is a big deal for a couple of reasons. The most notable being the fact that NBC offers full TV episodes for free through its mobile app, without the requirement of signing into your existing cable subscription like many other popular network apps. NBC has always been one of the go to apps for cord cutters, and now they’ll be able to beam that content onto the big screen using an Apple TV and AirPlay. Getting a lot of this content on the Apple TV previously required a subscription to Hulu or signing into a cable subscription.  Read more

New Steve Jobs email a treasure trove of information about Apple TV, Google ‘holy war,’ and behind-the-scenes strategy

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A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.

A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.

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Mercedes-Benz gives us a look at Apple’s CarPlay in new C-Class [Gallery]

Earlier today we got a look at Apple’s just announced CarPlay feature for iOS when Volvo announced it would arrive in its new XC90 SUV, and now Mercedes-Benz has announced its partnership with Apple. As previously reported, the company confirmed today that it will be demoing the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at the Geneva Motor Show. Like Volvo and many of the other vehicle manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz made it clear that Apple’s CarPlay won’t be the only in-car entertainment system with work continuing on Android and MirrorLink solutions: Read more

OS X 10.9.2 breaks AirPlay Mirroring and desktop extensions to external monitors for some users

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A number of Mac users in an Apple Support Communities thread are reporting that Apple’s 10.9.2 update to Mavericks has broken AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV and the ability to extend desktops to external monitors.

I just updated to 10.9.2 and now when i try and airplay mirror to my Apple TV, it sends the audio but just shows a black screen and i can’t drag anything to it. It doesn’t show any of the options for external displays in the displays section of System Preferences …  Read more