Apple Retail SVP Angela Ahrendts: Apple Watch launching in “Spring,” after Chinese New Year

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The Apple Watch’s launch is scheduled to occur in the “spring,” according to Apple Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores Angela Ahrendts, later in 2015 than some had originally anticipated. Ahrendts stated the timeframe to retail employees in a video message, a transcript of which was provided by a source. While explaining that employees need to conserve energy for upcoming shopping seasons, Ahrendts stated, “we’re going into the holidays, we’ll go into Chinese New Year, and then we’ve got a new watch launch coming in the spring:”

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Apple reportedly working w/ Intelligent Energy to integrate fuel cell tech in devices

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A report from the Daily Mail over the weekend claimed Apple is working with fuel cell company Intelligent Energy on a project that hopes to embed fuel cells in mobile devices “within a few years.” The Daily Mail doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to accuracy, but the report claimed “senior sources in the US” have confirmed the partnership between the two companies. 

The technology could be rolled out in devices such as laptops and iPads, allowing them to run without being charged for days or even weeks…Intelligent Energy revealed upon floating that it bought a bundle of patents in tandem with a major ‘international electronics company’…It has kept the identity of its partner a closely-guarded secret. But a source, who has knowledge of the partnership, confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm.

The report noted that Intelligent Energy already has ties to Apple with former Apple Computers product specialist Joe O’Sullivan sitting on the company’s board and a new office in San Jose not far from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.  Read more

Samsung borrows a line from BlackBerry, calls iPhone users ‘Wall Huggers’ in new ad

As Samsung has done with past TV commercials for its flagship Galaxy S5, its latest ad for the device again takes the iPhone head-on. The new ad, titled “Wall Hugger”, focuses on mocking the iPhone’s battery life while showing off the S5’s Ultra Power Saving Mode and removable battery features. And in usual Samsung-fashion, it also borrows a line from comments Blackberry executive John Chen made back in March…  Read more

Apple acquires low-power, micro LED display maker LuxVue Technology

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Update: Apple confirmed the purchase with its usual boilerplate statement to TechCrunch:Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

Apple has acquired LuxVue Technology, a company that develops low-power, microLED-based display technology for consumer tech products, according to a report from TechCrunch.

LuxVue had managed to remain fairly quiet over the past few years, and what we know is that the company develops low-power, micro-LED-based displays for consumer electronics. We’ve heard Apple acquired the company to add to their hardware innovations area.

Apple has not yet confirmed the purchase, but TechCrunch adds that it’s “heard Apple acquired the company to add to their hardware innovations area.”  Read more

Are you seeing the reported hit in battery-life since upgrading to iOS 7.1? [Poll]

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We know you like iOS 7.1, but with a lot of chatter about reduced battery-life, and the only test so far based on a small sample and having results falling within the margin of error, we thought it would be useful to get a sense of how prevalent the issue might be.

We recognize, of course, that there are a huge number of variables involved in battery-life. Even if your phone usage is reasonably consistent, a single extra phone call or a bit longer spent browsing the web can account for the relatively small differences most are reporting. A poll is not going to amount to a scientific study, but a decent sample size should at least give a reasonable indication as to the scale of any issue …  Read more

iOS 7.1 makes everything faster — including your battery drain

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iOS 7.1 may have only been released this week, but it’s already got it’s own “gate”-worthy issue: battery life is abysmal. Reports on Twitter and Apple’s support discussion forums indicate that users are seeing significant drain on their batteries after installing the new update.

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Apple issues MacBook Pro with Retina display, MacBook Air software updates to solve battery bugs

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Apple has issued software updates for 2012 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina displays, and 2012/2013 MacBook Airs to resolve issues having to do with batteries. The updates are available via the Software Update function in the Mac App Store.

MacBook Air SMC Update 1.9:

This update is recommended for MacBook Air (mid 2012 and mid 2013) models. This update addresses rare issues where the battery unexpectedly stops functioning, the system does not recognize the battery, or the system hangs when the battery charge reaches less than one percent.

MacBook Pro SMC 1.2 release notes shown in screenshot above.

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Intel officially launches 4th gen Haswell processors bound for next-gen Macs just in time for WWDC

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We’ve told you several times in recent months about Intel’s next-generation Haswell processors that are largely expected to replace Apple’s current Ivy Bridge offerings in the next round of Macs. Now, ahead of Apple’s expected WWDC announcements, Intel has just officially launched its next-gen processors. The company confirmed that quad-core versions of the chips are available now with availability of ultrabooks, all-in-ones, laptops and desktops planned for this summer.

Intel says the processors provide up to a 50 percent improvement in battery life (the biggest gain in the history of Intel’s processors), and double the graphics performance of previous generation chips thanks to its ‘Iris’ technology.

Delivering Intel’s largest generation-over-generation gain in battery life enablement in company history, 4th generation Intel Core processors can bring an 50 percent improvement in battery life over the previous generation in active workloads when watching movies or surfing the Internet, and two to three times improvement in standby battery life. For some systems coming to market this year, over 9 hours of active use battery life or 10 to 13 days of standby with fresh data on a single charge is expected.

Earlier this year we saw stats from early performance tests showing Haswell will provide some notable performance boosts for MacBooks, and we’ve also heard reports that the 4th-gen Intel processors will be headed to iMacs and Mac minis towards the end of the year.

In a more recent report, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed Apple will introduce new MacBook Pro and Air updates next week at WWDC that will include an upgrade to Haswell. Yesterday, we posted even more evidence with SKUs showing that Apple is likely planning a MacBook refresh. Read more

Logitech announces ‘UE BOOM’ Bluetooth speaker, first with 360-degree sound & 15-hour battery

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Logitech’s UE brand is often at the top of our list when it comes to the best bluetooth speakers around, so we’re excited that today the company introduced its latest product with the announcement of the ‘UE BOOM’. Logitech is calling this “the world’s first social music player,” and that’s due to the fact that it’s the first to offer 360-degree sound and a 15-hour rechargeable battery. That’s a nice step up from the 5-8 hours you’ll get with most Bluetooth speakers.

Logitech is also following a trend that many Bluetooth speaker manufacturers have been lately: With UE BOOM you’ll be able to wirelessly connect two UE BOOMs via a free companion app to allow for traditional right/left stereo sound and other sound settings. It’s also water and stain proof: Read more

Review: Digital Treasures Powerflask — Is it better than booze?

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Most technologies have changed beyond all recognition in the last 10 to 20 years. Compare a smartphone from 10 years ago with the latest iPhone, and the difference is night and day. Laptops, TVs, cameras … pretty much any technology you can name has transformed almost beyond recognition. But there’s one technology whose pace of development seems truly glacial: batteries.

I’m not suggesting battery tech hasn’t improved at all, of course, but my smartphone 10 years ago got me through a typical day with a bit to spare, and my iPhone today does pretty much the same (albeit in a significantly smaller package). Those tiny fuel-cell batteries they keep promising us, with smartphone and laptop battery-life measured in weeks and not hours, seem as elusive as ever. Until that glorious day arrives, there will be times when our iPhone or iPad just isn’t going to have enough power to cope with an extra-long day, weekend camping trip, or similar.

There are a couple of different approaches to the problem. The first is a powered case. We previously reviewed the Morphies Juice and Air power sleeves. This is ideal when you know in advance that you’ll need the extra power and don’t mind a bit of extra bulk to achieve it. The second approach is an external battery pack you use to recharge your phone (and other USB-interfaced gadgets) when needed, or when you’re in one location for a while.

This is the approach taken by the Digital Treasures Powerflask, a cute-looking pack that can simultaneously charge an iPad and either one or two iPhones … Read more