Christmas Stories December 15, 2014

As a dedicated fan of kitchen gadgets, a Bluetooth scale linked to a companion iPad app that walks you through recipes step-by-step was too much to resist. Besides, it was a chance to bake some cookies and call it work (though I’m not entirely convinced the taxman is going to allow me to deduct the cost of the ingredients).

The scale is very compact – a little under 6.5 inches across with the front lip, and around 5.5 inches wide. There are no visible controls or display, but the lip contains a button and a hidden LED which lights up briefly when the scale connects to the app. Otherwise, it’s entirely featureless …  expand full story

Christmas Stories December 5, 2014

The holidays arrive on iTunes Radio, with ten Holiday radio stations

For those worried that they might not get quite enough Christmas music this month from coffee shops, stores, bars and just about everywhere else in existence, iTunes Radio has you covered. Apple yesterday added a whole collection of new stations to its streaming music service, each of them playing Christmas music and nothing but Christmas music – mirroring the holiday movie section added to iTunes.

The ten (yes, ten) stations range from Classical Holiday to Country Holiday. As ever with iTunes Radio, the stations play ad-free for iTunes Match subscribers, while others get ads (including visual ads) every few tracks after an earlier ad-free day courtesy of Verizon.

If you’re keen on minimizing your exposure to holiday music, however, you can stay out of the stores and do most of your shopping online thanks to the links in our holiday gift guides – with additional gift ideas over on 9to5Toys.

Christmas Stories February 12, 2014

Following our reports in recent months that Apple was looking to introduce a revamped Apple TV set-top box sometime around the month of March, Bloomberg is out with its own report today confirming much of what we’ve already reported. The report claims Apple is currently planning to launch the new Apple TV set-top box as early as April:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) is planning to introduce a new Apple TV set-top box as early as April and is negotiating with Time Warner Cable Inc. and other potential partners to add video content, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

In January we reported that Apple was working testing the new box that could include a revamped operating system and possibly app and game support for sometime in the first half of 2014. We also reported that Apple was testing upgraded hardware that included built-in AirPort Express 802.11ac router functionality and versions that include a built-in TV tuner to control existing cable boxes. Most recently we reported that code in recent builds of iOS 7 point to refreshed hardware, at least internally. Bloomberg today confirmed a couple of the same details including a new interface for navigating content. It also said the hardware will include a faster processor.

Bloomberg adds that a launch of the product is currently planned for Christmas but that might change if Apple isn’t able to nail down deals with content partners in time. Content from Time Warner has been rumored to be arriving soon for quite a while now, but negotiations are still ongoing according to Bloomberg’s report from today.

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Christmas Stories January 22, 2014

A couple of days after Fortune did its roundup of analyst estimates of iPhone sales, it has now done the same for the iPad, with the average forecast coming out at 25M sales in the final quarter of last year (Apple fiscal Q1) – up 10 percent from the previous year.

iPads were a more challenging market to forecast, observes Fortune‘s Philip Elmer-Dewitt:

The iPad Air didn’t ship until Nov. 1, missing one third of the quarter; the new iPad Mini (with Retina display) showed up 12 days later and was in short supply all the way through Christmas …  expand full story

Christmas Stories December 23, 2013

9to5Toys, Last minute edition: $10 off $50 iTunes or Best Buy in store, Amazon free 1 day shipping

Some last minute Christmas gift ideas from 9to5Toys.com:

Gift Card Mall has the $50 iTunes gift card for $40 shipped. The 20% discount is the lowest we’ve seen. Keep in mind this isn’t guaranteed to make it to the house before Santa.

If you need a guarantee, Best Buy’s Ebay site will give you $10 off $50 or more, via coupon code CLICKLASTMINUTE on “site-to-store” meaning you have to get in your car here.

If you want to stay at home, Amazon will still ship certain gift items to your home for free 1 day meaning you have only a few hours left.

If all else fails, Amazon emailed and iTunes emailed gift cards are always popular. 

Christmas Stories December 16, 2013

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImlmVqH_5HM]

As is tradition, Apple is airing a new holiday commercial this evening, this time highlighting the iPhone 5s, its movie making capabilities, and AirPlay with the Apple TV. The ad is set to the tune of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. As you may recall, last year Apple highlighted the iPad and FaceTime, with an ad set to “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. In 2011, Apple featured Siri and the then-new iPhone 4S.

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