Packing up for CES 2013: Here’s what we’re looking forward to

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This is what CES looked like the last time Apple attended. J/K. Via the Verge

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show is almost here, with official CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center opening up next week on Jan. 8. To kick things off, hundreds of companies and the press will invade Las Vegas this weekend for three days of pre-show product demos, press conferences, and more from the majority of the tech industry’s biggest names. Samsung, Sony, NVIDIA, Intel, Toshiba, and LG are just a few of the companies with scheduled announcements, but there will surely be more than a few surprises with over 3,000 exhibitors setting up shop. Apple’s last official appearance at CES was in 1992 with John Sculley’s keynote introduction of the Newton, but its presence at the show remains with hundreds of new Apple-related products unveiled every year.

9to5Mac is on its way to Vegas to bring you full coverage of the best products from the show. But, until then, here’s a wrap-up of what we already know will be there and what else you can expect to see at CES 2013:

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Samsung: Apple Television is old news. Smart TV is the future and already here

When Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he finally “cracked the code” to building an integrated television set that is user-friendly and seamlessly syncs with all of your devices, Samsung Australia’s Director of Audiovisual Philip Newton told the Sydney Morning Herald that Jobs’ was talking about connectivity.

He laughed off the mythical iTV and dissed Jobs’ TV brain wave as “nothing new,” saying the future is now and it is his company’s Smart TVs:

When Steve Jobs talked about he’s ‘cracked it’, he’s talking about connectivity – so we’ve had that in the market already for 12 months, it’s nothing new, it was new for them because they didn’t play in the space. It’s old news as far as the traditional players are concerned and we have broadened that with things like voice control and touch control; the remote control for these TVs has a touch pad.

Samsung is promoting Smart TVs left and right at the CES show that is underway this week in Las Vegas. The company is showing off apps and games such as Angry Birds running smoothly on Smart TVs. Feature-wise, Samsung Smart TVs are beating Google TVs to the punch with capabilities such as voice interaction, facial recognition, integrated camera controls for multi-video conferencing and multitasking.

Sony, Panasonic and LG are also pushing integrated television sets built around the Smart TV platform. While not officially an exhibitor, Apple reportedly dispatched 250 employees to attend the show and monitor what competition is doing; among them is the head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak. Apple has been rumored for months to launch 32- and 37-inch television sets in the summer of 2012. Does Samsung see Apple as a threat?

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Apple’s head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak spotted roaming the show floor at CES

While Apple does not have a booth or keynote at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company is on the show floor scouting the competition. PaidContent’s Tom Krazit spotted Apple’s head of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak at Sony’s booth. Joswiak talked to PaidContent, with a grin on his face, and said he was on location to see “How other companies present their products at events such as CES, from things like booth layout and aesthetics to which products are highlighted within a company’s booth.” Interesting.

It is worth noting that Apple has not participated in a trade show since MacWorld 2009, where the company announced iWork ’09, new MacBook Pros, and more. In recent years, Apple has stuck to announcing new products at its own events.

Roaming the floor does not seem like the only thing Apple is doing at CES. At 9to5Mac, we have been independently contacted through email by someone who seems to be seeking information on Apple competitors, including information on what 9to5Mac thinks about the technology being showcased at CES. The contact also wanted to know specifics on how journalists viewed companies’ product marketing practices. This probe certainly sounds similar to Mr. Joswiak’s recent activities on the show floor, right?

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CES 2012 craze: Waterproofing your iThings without a case

Waterproofing your iPhone the old-school way has a major downside to it knowing the majority of water-resistant cases add bulk to your device and are downright ugly. At this year’s CES, companies that have solved this problem somewhat effectively are attracting attention from big media and attendees. Liquipel tackled the issue with an oleophobic-like coating that, well, repels water. The nano-sized coating is barely visible to the naked eye and it keeps electronics working even when submerged into a bucket of water, as seen in the clip above. The catch? You need to send your device to Liquipel to apply the coating for you at a $59 value. Check out the video above: It may look like a hoax, but it is the real deal. Another company employs a similar technique, as witnessed in the below clip.

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ION Audio unveils three new iCade products at CES; iPhone and iPod Touch now supported in handheld options

The iCade is an attachable accessory for the Apple iPad that functions as a portable arcade cabinet, but now the device’s manufacturer unveiled three new products under the popular line that toggle the iPhone and iPod Touch.

ION Audio showcased the products at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The manufacturer recreated the original arcade setup by ditching the cabinet exterior in favor of landscape support.

The first product is the iCade Mobile for iPhone 4/4S or iPod Touch. According to Engadget, it is a handheld with gaming buttons and a D-pad, which subsequently adds 1.5-inches onto each side of the iOS mobile device. The iCade Mobile also allows users to switch between portrait and landscape mode. ION said it expects about 100 games to be compatible with the product, and the retail price is currently set at $79.99 USD.

Pictures for each new iCade product are displayed after the break.

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Corning Gorilla Glass 2 to debut at CES 2012: Will latest innovation be on iPad 3 or iPhone 5?

Corning Inc., announced today its plan to unveil Gorilla Glass 2 at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, and the company said more product details would be made available Jan. 9.

The Corning, N.Y.-based company plans to “showcase the critical role of highly engineered specialty glass in addressing emerging trends” at CES 2012. Some of the highlights include increased functionality from smaller form factors; connected devices in new applications; touch technology; and, large-format design aesthetics.

However, the main attraction to the Corning booth will be the introduction of Gorilla Glass 2, which is the next generation of the damage-resistant cover glass found on practically every consumer electronic today. CES attendees will have access to Corning experts and products featuring the latest Gorilla Glass applications.

The timely debut of Gorilla Glass 2 comes just before the rumored early-2012 launch of the iPad 3, as well as the rumored summer-to-fall launch of the iPhone 5, leaving room for Apple to include the latest technology on its upcoming devices.

Although not confirmed, it is worth speculating whether Corning supplied Apple, before today’s announcement, with Gorilla Glass 2 for iOS device production. The idea does not seem far-fetched considering the nature of both companies’ relationship…

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Behringer iNuke 8-foot iPhone dock levels the earth with 10,000 Watts of power

That iPhone dock up above is no joke (notice the scale of the iPhone in it). It was built as a one-off for CES 2012 by Behringer, the award-winning innovator of affordable professional audio and music equipment.  Known appropriately as iNuke, this $30,000 8ftx4ft, 700 pound dock pumps out a handy 10,000 Watts of power.  All in a package the size of a refrigerator.  How about a giveaway, Behringer?

We’ll be on hand at CES this year to check it out. PR below: Read more

How will Apple battle the $100 Android device?

From Fortune:

Tran says that [Android] phones made from the BCM2157 chipset will retail for under $100 and may dip as low as $75. Those devices should debut in just 3-6 months (and we might hear about them next month at CES).

That means that popular pre-paid Android devices that currently can be found as low as $180 will drop by half in the next half year.

Apple’s low-end strategy so far has been to offer the last year’s model for $99 with a two year contract.  That contract is at least worth $350 (AT&T’s ETF) which puts old retail iPhones at $450. Buying an iPhone 4 off contract costs $650.

What’s more important is that with Apple’s AT&T agreement, you have exactly one data plan option in the US (soon to grow).  Even with Verizon and maybe even Sprint and T-Mobile, there isn’t going to be a $25/month data plan for the iPhone anytime soon.  For the budget conscious, Android is the only smartphone game in town.

So how does Apple respond?

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