Review: Seiki’s 39-inch 4K TV as a display for a 2013 MacBook Pro with Intel Iris

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On Black Friday week, Amazon ($449) and Sears ($499) went into a price war on the 39-inch “120Hz” Seiki 4K displays culminating in a Sub-$400 price (that I jumped on) for the 39-inch variant.

I’ve been using it as a 4K, 3840×2160 display for my MacBook Pro 2013 base model (no discrete graphics) off and on for a week.

How is it as a HDTV? Can you use it as a 4K display? Should you? Here’s my take: Read more

The iPhone as an intelligent remote control, and a DIY silent disco device – Apple patents

Moving beyond today's remotes (image: bttremote.com)

Moving beyond today’s remotes (image: bttremote.com)

An iPhone may fall under the generic heading of a mobile phone, but a combination of the convenience of apps and the ability to use the iPhone as a remote for everything from playing a movie to changing the color of our lighting means that many of us use them at home almost as much as we do when out & about.

In a patent published today, Apple explores the potential of the iPhone to act as an intelligent remote with the kind of functionality typically associated with high-end home automation setups. The idea is based around the concept of ‘scenes’. Having a romantic night in with your partner? You probably want the lights dimmed, the music on softly, the TV off. Movie night? The big-screen on, Apple TV selected as the source, surround-sound speakers selected, volume up higher – and so on …  Read more

An à la carte Apple TV concept integrates Siri, FaceTime, and cable/satellite providers (Gallery)

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A member of The Verge forums, going by the name of “Knowledge”, posted the Apple TV concept below that envisions a future Apple TV OS where users could tap into multiple content sources from cable/satellite providers, local devices, and elsewhere. It would also integrate Siri (and Facetime) for scheduling recordings, changing channels, etc., and a unified search of all content.

Unified search looks for content in library, app store, iTunes, and TV Guide. Also brings the ability to use Siri for scheduling recordings, setting reminders, changing channels, playing music, playing video from library, opening an app, finds content available for purchase in iTunes, etc etc.

The full gallery is below: Read more

‘Tis the season for Apple analyst Gene Munster to call for an Apple HDTV next year

In recent months, several reports from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently Jefferies seem to indicate Apple is in talks with cable companies for a new Apple TV-related service. It depends on whom you ask as to whether that service would center on a next-generation Apple TV set-top box or mark Apple’s introduction of the much-rumored Apple HDTV. There are still a couple analysts betting on an Apple TV set in the near future. Peter Misek of Jefferies is one. Misek estimated sales of 4.9 million units in CY13, and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is once again adding to the rumors today…

Munster, who has many times in the past predicted a full-fledged Apple HDTV, reported in a note to clients today that Apple will launch a TV set in time for the 2013 holiday season (via Business Insider). Not to be confused with a possible refreshed TV set-top box, Munster believes Apple will release an HDTV somewhere between 42-inches and 55-inches and priced between $1,500 and $2,000.

Perhaps more interesting than the Apple TV rumor is Munster’s claims that Apple is set to launch a new radio service in March of 2013—possibly alongside a Retina iPad mini. As for the rest of Munster’s 2013 roadmap for Apple: in June 2013, he is predicting previews of iOS 7, OS X, and new Retina MacBook Airs.

Munster’s other not-so surprising predictions from the note:

Read more

Report: Apple to unveil new Apple TV OS at WWDC, will run on future HDTV

According to a report from BGR, which cited a “trusted source,” Apple is preparing to demo a refreshed version of its Apple TV OS at WWDC next week. The report also claimed it is the same OS that runs on the much-rumored Apple HDTV that many reports indicate the company is working on. BGR also said Apple is testing a new “control out” API. The report explained:

Read more

New patent details Apple’s work with high refresh rate LCD technology HDTVs

A ton of recent rumors all but confirm Apple plans to enter the TV market with a full-fledged Apple-branded HDTV, but today a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details an advancement of high refresh rate LCD technology known as “fringe field switching.” As described by PatentlyApple, Apple’s patent offers advancements in the technology that would allow FFS for use with large screen HDTVs. The report noted, “Previous versions of FSS couldn’t accommodate such large displays.” PatentlyApple explained:

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Major League Baseball can’t wait to get its hands on the ‘iPad 3′ Retina display

The story from USAToday:

[Cincinnati Reds’ manager of video scouting, Rob] Coughlin says the third-generation iPad’s improved resolution will enhance those efforts, noting the Reds installed high-definition cameras at Great America Ballpark this off-season in hopes of gaining a scouting edge.

“With the ‘3,’ now you’re going to be able to see the grip on the baseball, perhaps even the rotation of the baseball and be able to (better) break down mechanics,” he says. ” A decade ago (the latest) was VHS tapes, then the quality of video improved when everything went digital. Now, the next step is getting everything in high definition. The clearer the picture, the clearer you can see what the pitcher is trying to do.”

In a game of inches, every pixel matters. Read more

Analyst: First Apple HDTV will be integrated into next-gen iMacs (unlikely)

There has been no shortage of analyst reports regarding an Apple branded HDTV that the company is rumored to have already started work on. Some are calling for a late 2012 launch, but up until now, all have imagined the device as a standalone HDTV. Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair offers up another concept, claiming Apple will introduce a next-gen iMac with TV capabilities that will act as a transitional device before jumping head first into the TV business. The device would essentially integrate iCloud and Apple TV features, in addition to traditional TV hardware, into the larger 27-inch iMac design. Blair explains (via Forbes):

We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market. In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.

While this appears to be entirely speculation at this point, he makes much of his case based on the fact Apple already has the 27-inch iMac in production. We know Apple killed Front Row in Lion, while at the same time introducing iOS-like functionality like Launchpad. The 27-inch iMac is already an excellent display for consuming video content, but how conventional TV features might be baked into Lion is yet to be seen.

We’re pretty sure the Apple HDTV, if it comes to pass, will be based in iOS.  It will also be a living room experience unlike the up-close experience of an iMac.  Also, Apple seems to be going away from using its Mac Hardware as a TV device killing both Front Row and the included remote on many of its products.  Therefore we think this speculation is off. Read more

Sony’s Stringer: “No doubt that Apple is working on changing the traditional television set”


A rendition of an Apple-branded television set.

The WSJ reports that amid losing money on every television set they make, Sony somehow has a strategy for redemption. Stringer declined to provide details about what Sony is developing but said “there’s a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set”.

He he has “no doubt” Apple’s Steve Jobs also was working on changing the traditional TV set. “That’s what we’re all looking for”, he noted, warning “it will take a long time to transition to a new form of television”. Slim margins, low prices and little innovation make the business of researching, developing and marketing high-definition television sets a cutthroat one, he remarked:

We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money.

His company, Stringer said, spent the last five years creating an ecosystem to take on Apple, even though the company had seen little success with the Google TV platform and other connected television efforts:
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