I wondered earlier this year whether Apple’s HomeKit system would bring home automation to the masses. The good news is that you don’t need to wait for HomeKit to start bringing smart home technology to your family and friends – and we’ve put together a gift guide covering some of the main products that might bring a smile to their faces during the holidays.
With the right gadgets, they will be able to control lighting, heating, cooking, sound systems … even have their kettle switch on when they walk up to their front door, which will automatically unlock as they approach. Best of all, you can get them in on the smart home action from just $30 …
Small businesses looking to take occasional card payments without paying monthly fees now have a third option as Amazon has launched Local Register to compete with Square and PayPal Here – as we predicted last month. The $10 card-reader is compatible with any iPhone from the iPhone 4 onward, as well as any iPad or iPad mini.
Amazon is undercutting both competitor services with a flat fee of 2.5 percent per transaction (vs 2.7 percent for PayPal Here and 2.75 percent for Square). Not enough? Amazon is sweetening the deal with a special introductory rate of 1.75 percent until the end of 2015, and will also credit the $10 cost of the cardreader in full against transaction fees … Read more
CNET is reporting that Roku CEO Anthony Wood described Apple TV as an ‘iPad accessory’ at Re/code’s Code/Media conference. Until recently, even Apple characterised the product as a ‘hobby’. The Apple TV box has not changed much since its major revamp in 2010. More controversially, Wood followed up by claiming that the Apple TV actually loses money for Apple – which would immediately seem strange since Rokus have similar hardware and cost less.
“Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple,” he said Thursday, speaking at the Recode conference here. “If you’re losing money, why would you want to sell more?”
Apple’s prospects of a successful appeal against the ruling in the ebooks trial may be improved by a brief filed by two economists from Caltech and NYU who suggest that the ruling was in error and call for it to be reversed.
Apple was found guilty of anti-competitive practices on two grounds. First, it asked publishers to switch from a wholesale pricing model – where publishers sold books in bulk and retailers set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set prices and retailers took a percentage cut. This, the court found, reduced price competition … Read more
If you based your assessment of Apple’s future prospects on analyst reports and polls, you’d be upping your medication today while reading three separate sets of numbers.
Fortune reports that Apple tops the ‘most admired companies‘ list for the seventh time in a row, with Amazon and Google the runners-up. The charts are based on polling directors, executives and analysts in the USA’s largest companies.
The same source cites a Morgan Stanley investment note showing that the 30 largest institutional investors, who between them hold at least 30 percent of the shares on the market, have been selling AAPL, with their holdings at a record low … Read more
Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code- ahead of the new version of the Apple TV box expected to be unveiled in April.
People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout […]
Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android … Read more
A variety of other retailers appear to be getting units in stock after a quick Google search of manufacturer part PDFM9L-BX1-EN-NT. The September 5th release date would seem to fit into Parallels’ schedule. Previous releases were:
Parallels has traditionally allowed users who’ve bought within 2 weeks of release a free upgrade to the new version but no such policy has yet been announced for this version. (Update: Here’s Parallels Tech Guarantee saying if you buy after August 15th (now) you are covered for a free upgrade when V9 comes out.) If you are interested in purchasing Parallels now (and it is a GREAT product), we recommend downloading a free 30-day trial of Parallels Desktop 8 which would conclude after the above early September update, guaranteeing you wouldn’t need to pay extra for an update to v9.
If Parallels 9 is indeed coming out soon, you can bet we’ll have a full review of the product and/or any iOS accessory products, should such products exist, as soon as they are available.
Sunrise Calendar: Launched today by former Foursquare designers, the free Sunrise calendar app is getting a lot of attention for its simplistic approach to combining calendars, Facebook events and birthdays, and weather forecasts based on your current location. The app initially only supports Google Calendar, includes Timezone support (a feature missing from many popular calendar apps), and integration with LinkedIn to “see faces of people you are meeting.”
☆ 100% free calendar app with a gorgeous design.
☆ Compatible only with Google Calendar for now.
☆ A completely redesigned calendar experience for your iPhone.
☆ Synchronization that just works, in real-time.
☆ Quick Add Event just by typing “Lunch tomorrow at 9pm” (long-press on the +).
☆ Timezone Support. No more headache when travelling!
☆ Facebook Events and Birthdays included.
☆ See faces of people you are meeting with using LinkedIn.
☆ Weather forecast based on your location.
☆ Smart icons.
☆ Tag location to events.
☆ Use Google Maps for Directions.
☆ Connect multiple Google Calendars.
IMDb version 3.1: IMDb announced a nice update to its IMDb Movies & TV iOS app that brings a number of new features including links to titles available on Amazon Prime for users that have the Amazon Instant Video app installed on their iPhone or iPad. The update also includes a Special Oscars section with a “list of nominees and photos from the red carpet and ceremony and live winners,” a new Recommendations feature, and a few improvements:
- Award information for celebrities and titles (iPad/iPhone)
– Titles available on Amazon Prime feature a link to watch if the Amazon Instant Video app is also installed (iPhone/iPad)
– Special Oscars® section: list of nominees and photos from the red carpet and ceremony and live winners on iPhone and iPad during the ceremony
– Recommendations: tap on the “i” in the corner of the poster to see why it’s recommended for you, rate the title if you’ve seen it, or indicate “not interested” (iPad)
– Improved accessibility for TV episode navigation (iPad)
– Updates to side navigation (iPad)
– Bug fixes include episode picker in VoiceOver (iPad)
Finish version 1.0.2:Improvements and new features for productivity app Finish:
1. There’s now an option in settings to start the week on Monday.
2. Smoother gestures!
3. Some small interface improvements
4. Good ol’ VARIOUS BUG FIXES!
iA Writer version 1.8: Popular text editor iOS app iA Writer gets a big update today that includes a new iCloud engine and UI, overall new look and feel for the entire app, and a ton of features and improvements: Read more
Amazon Instant Video is now playing on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Videos you’ve purchased or rented with Amazon Instant Video will show up instantly on your Apple device once you download and sign into the app. Amazon Prime members can stream titles from the entire Prime Instant Video library.
Update: An Amazon spokesperson says this is just a test (but you still can order this per month)“We are always looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We are testing a monthly Prime subscription. Beyond that, we don’t have anything further to offer.”
In addition to the free streaming video service, users of Amazon’s Prime get access to free two-day shipping on product orders (amazing to have for the holidays—especially on a month-to-month basis), as well as access to the Kindle lending library.
I can confirm that Airplay only works for audio in streaming video so you can’t stream to an AppleTV, yet. Also, I am able to stream my purchased movies but offline downloading doesn’t appear to be working at the moment (update: 8 hours later, 1 movie has finished downloading).
Amazon’s Cloud Drive got updated just yesterday as well, but with the proximity to the Hulu announcement, we’re thinking this might be Apple’s move more than Amazon finally building the app. On the other hand, perhaps the $199 Google Nexus 7 is signaling a big shift – that Amazon doesn’t need to build its own hardware and it can just produce software for the variety of tablets out there.
Apple earned the top spot in a new corporate reputation study by Harris Poll (viaTechCrunch). It awarded Apple with a corporate reputation quotient of 85.63, which is enough to displace a second-ranked Google with a score of 82.82. Only eight companies earned an RQ score of 80 or above that denotes “excellent reputation.” Apple’s achievement is even more noteworthy knowing Google ranked as last year’s most reputable corporation. Facebook and Intel did not appear on the list this year at all. As for Apple’s rise:
Apple’s current dominance is built on strong investments in its brand, predominantly through its products and services. This one-dimensional approach to building reputation has ultimately yielded high associations with all six reputational dimensions. Conversely, Hewlett Packard, which once out-ranked Apple, has headed in the reverse direction. Hewlett Packard’s slowly eroding reputation has been injured by negative perceptions on Ethics and Vision & Leadership dimensions, and its brand is beginning to feel the damage.
Beverages giant Coca-Cola (No. 3), online retailer Amazon (No. 4) and multinational confectionery, food and beverage conglomerate Kraft Foods (No. 5) round out the top five. Apple ranked the highest in Financial Performance, Products & Services, Vision & Leadership and Workplace Environment—four out of the six key dimensions in reputation. Interestingly, Amazon.com rules the Emotional Appeal category, even though it lacks brick-and-mortar stores and has a limited human interaction with its customers…