AT&T has launched a new initiative called Mobile Share Value Plans that is designed to save customers money on their monthly AT&T mobile phone service bills. The following changes are specifically for the Mobile Share program, which allows devices to work under the same AT&T account and share data, talk, and text plans. Similar to T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” approach, the new AT&T plans separate the cost of the device hardware completely from the monthly service charges:
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
When we did our Best Bluetooth speaker mega-review (TL;DR: Overall Winner, Best Value, Best Sound, Best Portable/Sound, Apps/Updates, more) a few weeks ago, we neglected to test JBL’s very capable ($99 Flip) and $149 Charge; something our commenters immediately questioned. Not even a day after the review went up, JBL sent us a box full of their new speakers to test against our recommendations (sometimes this is a great job!). JBL also sent us the $100 OnBeat Micro Lightning Dock to compare against so it might also be worth asking the question: Should you get a Bluetooth speaker or a Lightning dock speaker? Read more
However unlikely—the United States Patent and Trademark office today published an Apple patent application that details a system of inductively charging an iPad through the Smart Cover. The idea is that rather than plugging in the iPad, the Smart Cover would include an inductive power transmitter that would allow it to pair with an inductive power transceiver embedded into the iPad. The result is the Smart Cover would become a wireless charging station, connecting to an external power source, and allowing you to power your iPad in various positions. Apple also explained that it could use “ambient power gathering devices, such as solar cells, can be used to gather ambient power (such as sunlight) to be stored internally in the flap for later inductive transfer.”
A method for wireless powering a tablet device, comprising: determining if a protective cover is in a closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; enabling a wireless power receiver circuit in the tablet device when it is determined that the protective cover is in the closed configuration with respect to the tablet device; and wirelessly receiving power from a wireless power transmitter associated with the protective cover.
Apple described the advanced Smart Cover as including multiple power transmitters to allow the iPad to charge even when using the case, for example, as a stand to prop up the device. Alternatively, the cover could continue charging the device when in the closed position or when an iPad is placed on top: Read more
A new Wi-Fi scanner tool is in Mountain Lion’s refreshed Wi-Fi Diagnostics Utility, allowing users to easily discover Wi-Fi networks within range and view related data not available from Apple’s Wi-Fi menu bar item. Comparable to third-party Wi-Fi stumbler tool iStumbler, the scan tool provides data for BSSID, band, protocol, channel, signal strength, security, and more. It also has Active and Passive scan modes.
From the window, you can see what networks are in your area and their strength. Some maneuvering of base stations can increase coverage to the outermost areas of your house, and it is much, much easier to see slight differences in numerical signal vs. noise strength over those four waves Apple uses in its Wi-Fi menu.
Additionally, by looking at what Channel (1-13) your base station is on, compared to your neighbors (or other base stations in your house), you can often find the least used channel in your area to improve reception.
Another batch of newly granted Apple patents were published today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and then detailed by Patently Apple. Perhaps the most notable is one for an inductive charging solution that we have heard about in the past. Apple patents surfaced last year showing new methods of inductive charging that could be used in various Apple devices. There were even rumors last year that a next-gen iPhone could sport a similar cable-free charging solution. Patently Apple described the docking station invention covered in today’s patent that would include an “eradiating antenna and an inductive charging circuit for inductively charging a handheld device”: