Jordan Kahn

@JordanKahn

Senior Editor, 9to5Mac – 9to5Google – 9to5Toys

Contact Jordan with news tips and long-winded complaints at Jordan@9to5mac.com.  

Jordan writes about all things Apple as a senior editor for 9to5Mac. He also covers Google for 9to5Google.com and the latest gear and deals on 9to5Toys.com.

Send tips to: Jordan@9to5mac.com Twitter: @JordanKahn FB: https://www.facebook.com/makamachine SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/makamachine

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May 22, 2013

During its Google I/O keynote earlier this month, Google announced that it would be bringing conversational, Google-Now like voice search to the desktop. Using a UI similar to voice search and Google Now in its mobile apps, Google would soon allow Chrome users to search and drill down further into results using only their voice.

Today, Google appears to have finally started rolling out the feature for Chrome users on the stable and beta channels of Chrome.

After updating to the latest version 27.0.1453.93 of Chrome, users can navigate to Google.com, click the microphone icon, and choose to allow the new Google Voice search feature to begin listening. Google will only ask for permission to listen once and from then on users can simply speak in order to search. For certain search results such as questions Google will also provide audible results.

Not all of the functionality seems to be available as of yet. For example, when Google first showed off the feature users weren’t required to click at all. Google execs were activating the feature by simply saying “Ok, Google” and were able to continue searching with their voice, hands-free, from on the search results page. The feature as it’s currently implemented now requires users to click the mic icon in order to start a voice search. expand full story

We know that Bluetooth keyboards are usually the go to solution for a bringing a traditional typing experience on the iPad. We’ve reviewed plenty from Logitech in the past that we highly recommend, but today the company launched what it says is a better solution for iPad keyboards in the classroom. Logitech says having to connect multiple iPads to Bluetooth keyboards in classrooms is a big hassle for teachers, and to combat that it is introducing a plug-and-play, wired keyboard in both Lightning and 30-pin variants:

“Schools are increasingly purchasing iPads for use in the classroom,” said Mike Culver, vice president and general manager of mobility at Logitech. “While tablets are enabling new ways of teaching and testing, there’s a challenge when a teacher needs to simultaneously pair multiple iPads with multiple wireless Bluetooth keyboards. We developed the Logitech Wired Keyboard for iPad to specifically solve this problem, so students can now simply plug it in and start typing.”

The full-sized keyboard has the usual iOS hotkeys, a durable, spill resistant exterior, and the low profile keys you might be used to from other Logitech keyboards.  expand full story

May 21, 2013

9to5toys 

Zagg, a company that makes high quality keyboard cases for iPads that we’ve reviewed in the past, today introduced two brand new keyboard cover and folio designs for iPad mini. Zagg says both products are ultra-thin Bluetooth keyboards that take advantage of “a unique, patent-pending hinge system that enhances the iPad mini user experience with a full range of viewing angles up to 135 degrees.” Get full details on both new products below: expand full story

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: expand full story

May 20, 2013

9to5google 

Apple today has published its testimony proposing corporate tax reform and detailing the company’s tax practices ahead of CEO Tim Cook’s appearance at a Senate hearing on offshore tax practices scheduled for tomorrow.

In the testimony, Apple proposed what it called comprehensive corporate tax reform that should: Be revenue neutral, eliminate all corporate tax expenditures, lower corporate income tax rates; and implement a reasonable tax on foreign earnings that allows free movement of capital back to the US.

While some Subcommittee members may have differing views on these tax policy matters, Apple hopes the Subcommittee will see that these recommendations aim to create meaningful change and go well beyond what most US companies propose. As both a pioneer and participant in the American innovation economy, Apple looks forward to working with the Subcommittee on its efforts to encourage comprehensive reform of the US corporate tax system. Apple appreciates the opportunity to appear before the Subcommittee to contribute constructively to this important debate.

Apple also detailed the company’s current tax practices and noted it “made income tax payments to the US Treasury totaling nearly $6 billion – or $16 million per day.” Apple points out that, at a rate of 30.5%, that accounts for around “$1 out of every $40 of corporate income taxes collected by the US Treasury last year.”

Apple continued by commenting on its recent decision to borrow $17 billion in debt instead of repatriating offshore funds to help fund its shareholder return: expand full story

May 17, 2013

electrek 

Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and Justin Timberlake are just a few of the artists over the past year to offer full-length, high quality streams of their newest albums on iTunes in the days before release. The latest to follow in the trend is award winning electronic music duo Daft Punk with a full length stream of the group’s 74-minute “Random Access Memories” album hitting iTunes earlier this week. While it’s often suggested the streams help to fight piracy of the albums before their release, we’ve discovered Apple is ironically making it easier than ever to grab a high quality version of the stream right from its website.

By using a tool to monitor HTTP requests (like HTTP Scoop), users can easily find the URL where the stream is hosted and save the full, high quality MP4 to their computer. By simply navigating to the URL where the stream is hosted, you can download the whole album for free. The same hole exists for an album from The National that is currently being streamed.

The whole album is available as an easy download and while it does come with Apple’s FairPlay DRM to prevent it being played on other devices, we imagine (hope!) this gets pulled fairly quickly.

Many have called artist’s decision to stream their album in entirety on iTunes a play at combatting piracy in the days up to album’s launch. The idea being, since it’s going to leak anyway, offering a high-quality stream of the album will tempt most into going to iTunes and possibly preorder while they are there. It’s of course possible to rip a slightly lower quality version of the stream using software, but Apple shouldn’t be making it this easy to download the full quality file.

Apple’s streaming security is especially important in light of the upcoming iRadio streaming app that’s coming to iOS 7. We imagine that the labels will want to make sure holes like this are closed. expand full story

Just as the Defense Department granted iOS devices approval for use on military networks, TheStreet reports that the U.S. Air Force plans on saving around $50 million through its purchase of iPads. The savings will mainly be due to the ability to cut weight on flights by replacing traditional flight bags and come over a ten year period:

“We’re saving about 90 pounds of paper per aircraft and limiting the need for each crew member to carry a 30 to 40 pound paper pile [of flight manuals],” said Major Brian Moritz, EFB program manager, in a phone interview. “It adds up to quite a lot of weight in paper.”

Removing the need to print and distribute thousands of flight manuals, however, equates to an even greater cost saving. “It comes out to just over $5 million a year,” noted Moritz. “With fuel savings, it comes out to $5.7 million annually in pure cost. When you look at $5.7 million a year, over 10 years, that’s well over $50 million.”

In February of last year the Air Force revealed plans to purchase up to 18,000 iPads as a replacement to traditional flight bags, although at the time it was considering other tablets and looking for the lowest cost of entry possible.

According to the report, the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command now currently has around 16,000 iPads in use with another 2,000 spread across other Air Force members.  expand full story

Update: Apple provided the following comment to AllThingsD on the approval:

“With iPhone and iPad being tested or deployed in almost every Fortune 500 company, Apple continues to scale across enterprise with nearly 30,000 companies globally developing and distributing iOS apps for corporate use by their employees,” Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. “The FIPS 140-2 certification and STIG approval demonstrate our ongoing commitment to deliver a secure platform to our enterprise and government customers around the world who deploy iOS devices on their networks.”

Following reports earlier this month that the Defense Department was in the process of approving iOS 6 for nonclassified communications and widespread use by government agencies, Bloomberg reports today that Apple has officially been granted approval for use on U.S. military networks.

The Pentagon already approved Samsung devices powered by the company’s Knox security software and BB10 ahead of today’s approval of iOS 6.

In February the US Defense Department confirmed plans to open its networks to 100,000 new devices from Apple and Google by February of next year. At that time the Pentagon said its networks had about 470,000 BlackBerrys, 41,000 Apple products, and 8,700 Android devices.

A number of U.S. agencies switched from BlackBerry to iPhones over the last year, while earlier reports indicate Samsung is attempting to attract more government and corporate customers with a new team of security experts and former RIM employees as well as a water and dust proof variant of its flagship S4 dubbed the Galaxy S4 Active. Today’s security approval will increase the number of agencies allowed to deploy iPhone and iPads on government networks for nonclassified communications.

expand full story

9to5toys 

May 16, 2013

Apple just released iTunes 11.0.3 with several new features including enhancements to the MiniPlayer, an improved Songs View, and multi-disc albums.

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 1.34.20 PMApple’s new MiniPlayer, which it first introduced in iTunes 11, today gets a new “beautiful view that showcases your album artwork” as well as a progress bar viewable right from the MiniPlayer. The new view for MiniPlayer can also be expanded to show an entire playlist (as pictured above).

Other improvements to iTunes in version 11.0.3 include the ability to view multi-disc albums as a single album and “performance improvements when searching and sorting large iTunes libraries.”

The update also includes an updated interface for updating iOS apps (below). Thanks Graham! expand full story

9to5google 

Sharp-IGZO-displays-Macbook

MacBook-Pro-RetinaSharp, one of Apple’s display suppliers that is rumored to have just begun production on next-gen iPhone displays, this week announced it will soon begin producing notebook displays with the highest pixel density in the biz. With displays ranging from 11.6 inches to 15.6 inches, it’s entirely a possibility that one could end up in a next generation MacBook with Retina display.

IGZO technology enables smaller thin-film transistors and increased light transmittance. As a result, fine text can be rendered crisply and clearly, and images can be displayed with impressive realism. For example, the 14-inch panel boasts a pixel density of 262 ppi, which represents 1.67 times the number of pixels of full high definition*3. Increased light transmittance also means lower rates of energy consumption, with IGZO technology reducing the amount of power required to drive liquid crystals during the display of still images. These factors lead to greater energy efficiency and longer battery life on notebook PCs. IGZO technology is also compatible with stylus-input touchscreen functionality.

Sharp will start producing the displays, which boast a resolution up to 3,200 x 1,800 and pixel density of 262 ppi, in June and already has a 13.3-inch model being mass produced. expand full story

pebble

Pebble, the popular Bluetooth smartwatch that raised over $10M on Kickstarter before shipping to backers in January, today announced the release of an updated SDK and APIs that will allow iOS and Android developers to create apps for the platform. Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky had this to say about the updates:

“The tremendous response we received from Kickstarter backers validated our belief in the value of a smart watch as a wearable computer, but also in the value an open platform brings to truly personalizing the watch to their daily activities”, said Eric Migicovsky, Pebble’s founder. “This new investment will help us build out the Pebble development ecosystem and deliver on Pebble’s extraordinary potential.”

The updated Pebblekit SDK will now allow developers to create third-party apps that will be able to send and receive data to apps on the Pebble smartwatch. The updated SDK will effectively allow developers to build new apps for the platform, for example, taking weather or news information from an iOS or Android app and displaying it on the watch. Previously devs were limited to implementing the basic functions of Pebble.

You might have heard RunKeeper recently added support for tracking data using Pebble and today Pebble is making easier for similar fitness apps to do the same with a new Sports API for accessing the GPS features of the watch.  expand full story

Update: AllThingsD got its hands on some better images (above) and a statement from Apple on the new store (below):

“We’re thrilled to be working with the city of San Francisco on a new Apple retail store at Union Square…. Our store on Stockton Street has welcomed over 13 million customers since it opened nine years ago, and we look forward to serving them in an amazing new location when this project is complete.”

San Francisco Chronicle reports today that Apple has now submitted plans to open a new store in San Francisco’s Union Square. The new location would apparently replace Apple’s old retail location just a few streets away at Stockton and Ellis.

The new building is said to give Apple around 45% more space than its old San Fran retail location and will apparently occupy a building formerly home to Levi’s in Union Square at Stockton and Post Streets.

Apple thinks it will add about 50 jobs on top of the 350 it employees at its current Stockton street location: expand full story

electrek 

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