Steve Jobs had plans to make free, shared Wi-Fi the norm to improve iPhone experience

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There were lots of hints that Steve Jobs was interested in changing the way we all access the internet on the devices he helped create. Back in 2011 there were reports that Apple considered developing its own network for the original iPhone that could potentially replace traditional carrier services using Wi-Fi spectrum. Before that rumours claimed Jobs was interested in Fon, a WiFi sharing service that encourages users to share wireless internet access with others. Today, Walt Mossberg from ReCode shares another story about Jobs’ interest in a world of shared Wi-Fi, describing a conversation between the two where Jobs shared his vision of making free Wi-Fi the norm: Read more

Editors Keys turns Apple’s wireless keyboard into the first Logic Pro X shortcut keyboard

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Editors Keys today announced the first ever wireless shortcut keyboard for Apple’s recently released Logic Pro X audio suite.  The keyboard sports 150 shortcuts and the company notes it was also able to fit in some extra shortcuts as icons sitting behind the text on each key. Perhaps the best part of the new Logic Pro X keyboard is the fact that Editors Keys used an actual Apple wireless keyboard for the product, which means you’ll be able to swap out your current Apple keyboard without sacrificing the look and feel. The company says it worked with the Logic Pro X community to develop the best experience possible for users:  Read more

Contract-free carriers Straight Talk, NET10 picking up iPhone 5s, 5c on December 13th

(via Flickr)

(via Flickr)

Just as stock is starting to really level out and the holidays are quickly approaching, contract-free carriers Straight Talk and NET10 Wireless announced plans to begin selling both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c starting December 13th.

Both Straight Talk and NET10 offer monthly plans which include unlimited talk, text, and data, but that of course comes at the cost of paying for the iPhone at full price. The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will retail for $649 and $549, respectively, for 16GB and will be sold exclusively at Walmart where each carrier is supported.

While the initial iPhone purchase may cost you a good bit more than a subsidized expense through a traditional carrier, the monthly bill may not as both carriers offer monthly plans at $50 or less.

Check the full press release below for more details and read our iPhone on Staight Talk reviewRead more

AT&T launches ‘Mobile Share Value Plans’ with notable monthly savings for BYOD customers, 18-month Next option

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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:

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Logitech announces ‘UE BOOM’ Bluetooth speaker, first with 360-degree sound & 15-hour battery

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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

Review: JBL’s portable speaker line (OnBeat Micro, Flip, Charge) begs the question: Lightning dock or Bluetooth speaker?

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JBL’s $99 Flip, $99 OnBeat Lightning Dock and $149 Charge

When we did our Best Bluetooth speaker mega-review (TL;DR: Overall WinnerBest ValueBest SoundBest Portable/SoundApps/Updatesmore) 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

Apple patents unlikely SmartCover wireless charging system

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

Use Mountain Lion’s new Wi-Fi Scan utility to optimize your home wireless network

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.

If you are interested in using the new Wi-Fi scanner tool, OSX Daily provided the necessary steps for quick access:
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Apple’s rumored iOS device inductive charging solution gets pictured in patents

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”:

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Deal: Kensington KeyFolio Pro with Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad: $40

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Amazon offers the Kensington KeyFolio Pro  Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard for $39.99 with free shipping.  That’s 60% off of list and the lowest price we could find for this 4-star rated keyboard for iPad 2. It offers both landscape and portrait use.

This will likely also work with Apple’s new 3rd Generation iPad as well (though Bluetooth 4.0 Keyboards could start showing up soon)

We haven’t tested this model but we’re fans of the similar Zagg Keyfolio keyboard case, although it is over double the price.  Read more

Former Broadcom GM Mobile Platforms says we’ll see 802.11ac on PCs and access points later this year

Giving a talk at Gerson Lehrman Group’s G+ community, the former EVP & FM of Mobile Platforms at Broadcom Scott Bibaud offered the above explanation about the benefits 802.11ac would bring to all devices. We have discussed Gigabit Wi-Fi before, but we did not really get a handle on when the new Wi-Fi standard would be hitting technology we now use. Apple is usually an early adopter of such technologies, but it is not likely—as you can hear above— that Apple’s next round of products will include this feature. Just think Airports and Macs at the end of this year, and iPad 4 /iPhone 6.

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Apple’s Time Capsules go missing from retail stores globally

Shipping times for Time Capsules are increasing steadily across regional online Apple stores in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, France and other territories. While the 3TB version of Time Capsule is in stock at certain online Apple Stores, most now list the wireless backup appliance with up to one to three weeks delivery time. Meanwhile, 2TB Time Capsules in some stores take one to two weeks. Over at Amazon (temporarily out of stock) and Best Buy (sold out) things are not looking peachy either.

This is similar to the AppleTV shortages we noted over the weekend but may not be for the same reason.

Time Capsule constrains could be linked to the Thai floods that have led to global shortages of hard drives and subsequent jacked prices by as much as 28 percent. A disruption in the hard drive supply already affected the 27-inch iMac. That, plus the fact that other AirPort-branded products stay in stock only reinforce the notion that constrained supplies of Apple’s Time Capsule is likely caused by global hard drive shortages.

According to an unnamed tip that 9to5Mac received this morning, several Apple outlets in Australia no longer have Time Capsules in stock:

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