Review: Tenqa REMXD $39 over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones — Cans this good should cost more

Photos by Veronica Oggy

For a pair of headphones under the $50 mark, we often find ourselves recommending something like the standard $35 Apple earphones. You typically cannot beat the sound quality (build quality up for debate) for the price, but if you want to go Bluetooth, pickings are slim in the under $200 category.

If you are looking for DJ-style, over-ear Bluetooth headphones, your options are even fewer before hitting the $250+ price point for a wireless pair of Beats by Dr.Dre.

However, at just $39, Tenqa’s Remxd Bluetooth Headphones are clearly not for the pros, but looking at the Bluetooth alternatives from Rocketfish, Sony, and Sennheiser, they definitely impress at a fraction of the competition’s prices. They were also built with iPhone in mind, which means they pack a microphone and controls for hands-free calls—just like Apple’s stock iPhone earphones…

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‘jOBS’ biopic starring Ashton Kutcher will shoot in original Apple Garage and childhood home

The folks behind the upcoming Steve Jobs biopic, now dubbed “jOBS,” which stars Ashton Kutcher as the late CEO, released a presser this evening to announce the production’s June start date for filming. They also confirmed shooting will begin in the “historic garage” where Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple. The film’s early scenes will even feature Jobs’ Los Altos home where he grew up to maintain “accuracy and authenticity” during the movie-making process. Read more

iPhone reverse-engineer/hacker/rapper Geohot arrested for marijuana possession on way to SXSW talk

According to Above the Law, the original iPhone jailbreaker, Geohot, was arrested for felony possession of marijuana while at an international border crossing on his way to SXSW. According to the report, the arresting border patrol officers may have been outside of their jurisdiction (and likely measured improperly).

Before you rush to judge the guy, remember Steve Jobs’ thoughts on mind-altering substances (and phone hacking). If you have jailbroken using any of the “xxxRain” jailbreaking tools, you have used Geohot’s work. He also recently worked at both Google and Facebook (and Lady Gaga’s BackPlane).

He was still able to give his talk at SXSW, which is a pretty interesting (mp3). The full description is below:

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iPad 3 w/8 Megapixel camera pictured by Apple Daily publication

Apple Daily today has images of what it claimed is the next iPad compared to an iPad 1 and an iPad 2. You will notice increased tapering and a bigger camera lens. The publication said the camera is a whopping 8-megapixels, which would likely mean it is the same Sony camera found in the iPhone 4S that CEO Howard Stinger first leaked in April of last year. Apple will likely bring some of its optics over, as well.

We first heard reports of 5- to 8-megapixel cameras in the next iPad at the end of last year in a wide-ranging set of reports.

Apple.pro grabbed some images of the print version that seem to show the tapering better.

The iPad 3 picture seems to be coming together but that does not mean there are not going to be some surprises.

Apple Daily also noted new cabling (pictured below): Read more

NPD: Apple grabs almost a fifth of all holiday consumer electronics sales, Apple Stores second only to Best Buy and Walmart in revenue

Apple’s $46.33 billion dollar holiday quarter and the 73+ million shipped Macs and iOS devices are clear standouts in the newest NPD research note exposing Apple as the only brand to have grown sales in the all-important holiday quarter. The same cannot be said for rivals Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sony, and Dell, which all experienced missteps in holiday-quarter gadget sales. Five consumer electronics categories (PCs, TVs, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones and video game hardware) drove nearly 60 percent of all sales in 2011. Apple’s share of total revenue across these five important categories rose 36 percent year-over-year, according to NPD.

As a result, Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple TVs and the company’s other consumer electronics gear accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars. That is almost twice as much as No. 2 Hewlett-Packard. HP’s, Samsung’s, Sony’s and Dell’s sales dipped 3 percent, 6 percent, 21 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Apple Retail was No. 3 in terms of revenue, right after No. 1 Best Buy and second-ranked Walmart. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place to round out the top five—a repeat of 2010.

By the way, did you notice which two consumer electronics categories lack a dedicated Apple offering?

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Here’s a rare prototype translucent Apple hard drive circa 1985

Apple and its cofounder Steve Jobs certainly helped design and popularize storage devices throughout computing history. For example, the Mac mainstreamed Sony’s 3.5-inch floppy drive in the 1980s, but Apple was working on its own storage devices even before the Mac debuted. One of our buddies discovered this eBay listing advertising for what appears to be a prototype of a previously unknown NISHA hard drive adorned with the colorful Apple logo. It comes in a translucent case, and it could easily be the first Apple product we have seen like this, even though it never shipped. It is neither a Hard Disk 20 drive Apple introduced on Sept. 17, 1985 specifically for use with the Macintosh 512K nor is it a Hard Disk 20SC.

The latter product was the first SCSI drive Apple manufactured and deployed on the Macintosh Plus in 1986, effectively obsolescing the Hard Disk 20 unit. It is a safe bet that this unit represents an early prototype of one of Apple’s hard drives, but it could also be a new hard drive design that never saw the light of day. The seller could not tell either, as the drive did not power up. Eagle-eyed readers are aware that Apple of the past had been designing its own storage devices and the aforementioned Hard Disk 20 serves as an illustrious example of the company’s closed approach to hard drives.

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Apple appoints Sony Ericsson Americas President Anderson Teixeira to Head of Apple Latin America

Apple plucked a high-ranking executive from the folding Sony Ericsson Joint Venture, 9to5Mac has learned.  President of Sony Ericsson U.S. and Head of Region North America Anderson Teixeira will be heading Apple’s Latin America region.  He is leaving Sony Ericsson after a decade at the JV.

Sony is buying out Ericsson’s piece of the venture and the group is folding into Sony Electronics.

Teixeira started at Apple this month.

Internally at Apple, he is “Latin America General Manager,” but to the greater world he’s “Head of Latin America.”  He will be operating out of Apple’s small Coral Gables Florida office at 1 Alhambra Plaza Suite 700.  He has nine reports at that office.

A mid-2009 profile listed some background on his appointment at Sony:

Anderson Teixeira was based at the company’s US operations in Raleigh, North Carolina. A native of Brazil, Teixeira has been part of Sony Ericsson since the formation of the joint venture in 2001. He has led the company’s operations in Latin America, as Head of Region Latin America, based in Miami, Florida, and subsequently in Western Europe, based in Munich. As President of Sony Ericsson US, Teixeira will report to Sony Ericsson President Dick Komiyama. In his role as Head of Region North America, Teixeira will have overall responsibility for Sony Ericsson’s sales and marketing operations in the US and Canada.

It is not immediately clear who Teixeira will report to but we will update that information as it becomes available.

Apple’s Latin America presence has been growing with the iPhone spreading across carriers like wildfire and even a Foxconn iPhone production line opening in Teixeira’s native Brazil.

Videos of Teixeira discussing Sony operations are embedded below: Read more

Sony unveils tiny 13-megapixel CMOS image sensor with HDR Video, a fit for ultra-thin iPhone 5


The iPhone 4S camera system has a fifth lens and larger aperture to let more light in.

It is widely assumed that Apple’s next iPhone is going to be thinner and lighter than its predecessor —the 9.3mm thick iPhone 4S. However, camera modules for smartphones are not shrinking as fast as other tiny components are, and it is becoming a growing limitation when designing ultra-thin gadgets. If Apple is to engineer a thinner iPhone, the company is likely going to redesign the camera system all over again. Conveniently, Sony has a brand-new back-illuminated CMOS image sensor in the works that could be a natural fit for a next-generation iPhone.

Unveiled Monday, it separates the CMOS sensors from imaging circuitry:

This image sensor layers the pixel section containing formations of back-illuminated structure pixels onto chips containing the circuit section for signal processing, which is in place of supporting substrates for conventional back-illuminated CMOS image sensors. This structure achieves further enhancement in image quality, superior functionalities and a more compact size that will lead to enhanced camera evolution. 

Of course, there is no way of telling whether Apple will put the new CMOS sensor inside the next iPhone as the company famously refuses to comment on speculation. Nevertheless, Sony’s chip also benefits from the new white-light image sensors (RGBW Coding) to produce clearer images with reduced picture distortion in dark scenes and sharper videos with a wider range of light.

It also sports the HDR Movie feature that lets the camera combine two different exposures simultaneously – during video capture, one for the foreground and the other for the background. It makes a big difference in bright light situations, as seen in the below clip.

So, what’s in it for Apple?


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Sony looking to rival iTunes with Music Unlimited music service on iOS devices

iTunes had long been the only kid in town as Apple-imposed rules of the game prohibited third-party storefronts of any kind on iOS devices. Bowing to government regulators, Apple last year relaxed its strict policy pertaining to third-party stores and enabled subscriptions. This paved the way for music apps from Spotify and Shazam that have recently become available on the iOS platform. Now, another major subscription-based music service is about to hit the App Store.

According to reports, consumer electronics giant Sony is bringing its Music Unlimited service to owners of Apple’s mobile devices. For either $4 or $10 a month, Music Unlimited subscribers will be able to stream music onto their iPads, iPhones and iPod touches sometime this quarter. The first tier gets you the ability to stream music from your own personal library and the other enables unlimited streaming from Sony’s catalog of 15 million songs. Similar to Spotify, you will be able to cache songs and playlists when offline.

Sony’s logic behind this move reflects Apple’s approach…

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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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Aaron Sorkin “strongly considering” writing Steve Jobs screenplay for Sony


Image courtesy of AnimationMagazine.net

According to E! Online, screenwriter, producer and playwright Aaron Sorkin is “strongly considering” writing a screenplay for a rumored Sony movie about the life and work of Steve Jobs. Sorkin was quoted as telling the publication at the P.S. Arts Express Yourself 2011 event in Santa Monica:

Sony has asked me to write the movie and it’s something I’m strongly considering. [...] He was a great entrepreneur, he was a great artist, a great thinker. [...] He’s probably inspired my 11-year-old daughter Roxy more than he’s inspired me. She plays with all his toys.

Sony Pictures recently acquired feature rights to film a flick based on Walter Isaacson’s authorized bio. As we already informed you, someone from ER is likely to play Steve Jobs. The choice could come down to George Clooney (50) and Noah Wyle (40). The latter played Jobs in Pirates of Silicon Valley and recently said he would give his eye teeth, in the heartbeat, to play Apple’s charismatic co-founder.

Sorkin’s work includes the well-received television show The West Wing. He also wrote screenplay for the controversial movie The Social Network which covers how Facebook came to be while portraying its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg as a ruthless young entrepreneur  who stole an existing idea from the Winklevoss brothers, tweaked it and made it his own.

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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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