In line with my report from earlier this month, Nike has taken the wraps off of its brand-new Fuel Band. The FuelBand is Nike’s fitness tracking device that is worn around the wrist, and it has been popular (including within Apple’s upper ranks). The new version, officially called Nike FuelBand SE, makes improvements to the design that focus on color, durability, and connectivity. As I reported, the new FuelBand is more durable, more water-resistant, and connects to devices via Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (LE) technology:
Nike has scheduled a Tuesday, October 15th media event in New York City to discuss “the future of the digital world and physical activity.” Besides that, the company has been light on official details about what will be announced. However, we’ve been hearing about an upcoming Nike fitness/digital-related event for the past few weeks, and we are expecting a successor the popular Nike FuelBand fitness device to be announced. The event was originally planned for November, but perhaps the upcoming announcements from competitor Fitbit put pressure on Nike to move up its timeline…
Apple has lured away top Nike design director Ben Shaffer, according to a source at Nike with knowledge of the details behind Shaffer’s departure. At Nike, Shaffer was the Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen. This is Nike’s research and development lab where new product designs are created. Under Shaffer’s lead, Nike was named the most innovative company in 2013 by Fast Company. Nike’s Innovation Kitchen has been connected to wearable products like the popular Nike Fuel Band, and most recently, the Flyknit shoe.
With Apple’s continued development of its own wearable watch-like device, Shaffer’s experience in working on the wearables with Nike will be critical. The Nike Fuel Band is a popular product amongst Apple executives, including Apple CEO (and Nike Board member) Tim Cook and former Hardware lead Bob Mansfield. Based on Apple’s experience and usage of the Fuel Band product, it seems like that Apple’s own wearable computer will have similar fitness-tracking abilities. Furthermore, we recently reported that Apple hired the top fitness-expert (and Nike consultant) for the Fuel Band, Jay Blahnik...
Apple announced on Tuesday that iOS 7 will be publicly available on September 18th. The revamped OS moves completely away from the realistic designs of the past six generations, dropping almost all “artificial shadows” (as Apple SVP Craig Federighi called them), gloss, and even button borders. Instead, the Jony Ive-inspired interface features an entirely rethought design language that focuses heavily on large icons, lightweight fonts, whitespace, transparency, and conservative use of color.
We previously took a look at what some of Apple’s own in-house apps could look like when redesigned for iOS 7. During Apple’s September 10th event, Federighi flashed up a slide displaying the upcoming iOS 7 updates for many third-party applications. None of the apps were labeled, but we’ve tracked down names for most of them.
The apps featured are:
A new iPhone app allows designers to check the sustainability of the materials they are considering using in new products, reports Wired.
Some time ago, a team of employees at Nike was given a special project: Cataloging the 75,000-some items found in the company’s vast materials library and giving them each a score based on their environmental impact and long-term sustainability. No one had really done anything like it before, and it ultimately took the team six years to complete. Now, you can flick through their findings on your iPhone … Read more
Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Apple had a team of over 100 product designers working on a wristwatch-like device. At the time, we noted that all the recent rumors and intel surrounding the iWatch seemed like the lead up to an impending product launch. Bloomberg is out with a new report today, claiming Apple will indeed launch its watch product in 2013:
Apple seeks to introduce the device as soon as this year, this person said. Apple has filed at least 79 patent applications that include the word “wrist,” including one for a device with a flexible screen, powered by kinetic energy… The watch business is experiencing a renaissance reminiscent of the cell phone industry before the iPhone.
The report added information about some of the potential features of the device that we had also heard of previously, including the ability to receive incoming calls, view maps, and record health data via various sensors:
Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.
Citigroup Inc. analyst Oliver Chen estimated Apple could generate $6 billion of the approximately $60 million in sales he expects the global watch industry to bring in during 2013. As pointed out by Bloomberg, gross margins are roughly four times bigger than TVs, which would only bring about $1.79 billion in gross profit for the company compared to $3.6 billion for watches.
Former creative director at Nike Scott Wilson told Bloomberg that Apple’s Jonathan Ive “has long had an interest in watches.” Read more
It’s Thursday and you have four days to get the perfect Christmas gift, but have no fear…9to5Mac is here. O.K., enough with the cheese, let’s talk app-enabled accessories. Oh, man, I need to stop.
But, seriously, app-enabled accessories are the perfect gifts: they come in a variety of price ranges and work with a variety of iOS apps. So, we looked at a few popular, unknown, pricey, and not-so pricey ones and rounded them up below. Hopefully, this guide will give you a few ideas and inspire you to go shopping A.S.A.P.
Note: If you buy through Amazon, and are an Amazon Prime member, you could get many of these products shipped overnight for just $3.99 each.
Scroll to the bottom for details on the giveaway.
1. Ion All Star Guitar | Amazon sale: $93.15 (reg. $129.99)
Ion launched this nifty toy in the fall, and it is really, really cool. Think Guitar Hero…but for jammers and free-stylers. Like Ion’s popular iCade line, it charges with AA batteries. So, no wires and no fuss. It also fits any iOS device. A padded storage compartment adjusts to fit the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, and there is room to plug in a Lightening adapter (not included).
The built-in speakers pump out great volume, but there is also a headphone output for silent practice, and it has electric, acoustic, and bass guitar effects. The guitar, which is useable by both left-handed and right-handed folks, works best with the All-Star Guitar app that comes with 10 free songs pre-loaded, with access to additional songs for download, but it also works well with Garage Band and WI Guitar.
It’s packed with features, feels sturdy, and is definitely a cool gift for the musically inclined. Oh, and it seems like a neat way to learn guitar.
More accessories are below.
In the future, hitting the gym along with your iPhone-toting pals could spur competitiveness in ways unlike ever before. Apple’s mobile devices run a variety of fitness apps and third parties provide useful accessories ranging from casual jogging to some serious working out. Not content with resting on its laurels, Apple is looking to ratchet it up a notch with a new patent filing titled “Interfacing Portable Media Devices And Sports Equipment” that surfaced Thursday in the United States Trademark and Patent Office database.
It outlines new fitness technology letting you share performance data with your friends in real-time, as you are working out. Mentioning that traditional sharing through a third-party website is so last century, the filing goes on to describe immediate data sync between friends exercising on a similar equipment. Moreover, unlike Apple’s fitness center app patent or this fitness freak filing, it does not even pretend to mention Nike+. This suggests Apple could be developing its own solution that might some day augment or even replace Nike’s technology with numerous bells and whistles.
Fancy yourself working out on a treadmill next to your boss and being able to brag about your lower heart rate and blood pressure all the while covering greater distances. Heck, you could be even working out at your local gym while boss is running on a treadmill at his office in Tanzania.
Speaking of competitiveness…
Toshiba-branded NAND flash module in the previous-generation iPod nano (left) and the SanDisk module in the new model (right). Click for larger.
Apple on Monday reaffirmed its dedication to the iPod family and its latest iPod nano saw a slight refresh stemming mostly from the power of software. The enhancements include an improved user interface with larger icons, sixteen new watch faces and the improved Nike+ fitness functionality (accelerometer?). Furthermore, the new interface available to the older nanos, too, via a firmware update. Apple’s diminutive music player is available in seven colors, priced at $129/$149 for the 8GB/16GB version.
Gadget experts at iFixit tore it apart and found out the device carries the same model number A1366 as its predecessor, while the part number shifted from MC688LL/A to MC689LL/A, yet another indication of the minor hardware tweaks. The device still features the same 240-by-240 pixel display which remains inseparably bonded to the front glass. Also looking at the logic board, the seventh-generation iPod nano sports three Apple-branded chips, like its predecessor.
However, Toshiba’s NAND flash module from the previous-generation model has been replaced with flash memory from SanDisk, which appears to be the only major change to the device’s internals. The battery is still soldered to the logic board and getting the display off of the device requires the use of a heat gun, just like before, iFixit noted.
Additionally, iFixit’s director of technical communication Miroslav Djuric confirmed to 9to5Mac via email that the new model carries an updated Apple processor, the Apple 339S0104 chip versus the Apple 33850859 silicon found in the previous model. From TechInisights, it appears that this is a repackaged Samsung processor+DRAM:
Apple 339S0104 stacked PoP – Samsung APL3278A01 ARM Apps Processor and 512 Mbits Mobile DDR SDRAM from Samsung K4X51323PI
This stacked package-on-package device, once decapped, revealed another design win for Samsung (manufacturers of the A4 ARM processor).
This package revealed a Samsung APL3278A01 ARM application processor and 512 Mb (64 Mbytes) of Mobile DDR SDRAM (part number K4X51323PI).
By the way, UBM TechInsights guesstimated that Apple is spending $203 in parts for each 32GB iPhone 4S.