Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 2, 2014

Radius-Networks-iBeacons

Today, the Consumer Electronics Association announced that it will be using Apple’s new iBeacon technology to host a unique scavenger hunt of sorts at its International CES event scheduled for next week. Using the official CES mobile apps for iOS or Android, attendees will be able to collect badges for encountering the location-aware Bluetooth iBeacons placed throughout the CES showfloor. CEA is using a Bluetooth iBeacon development kit from  Radius Networks (pictured above) and Texas Instruments’ SensorTag technology. It hopes the scavenger hunt will encourage attendees to explore more areas of the show. expand full story

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 14, 2013

Martian-Watches-Passport-03There were more than a few Bluetooth-enabled smart watches on display at CES this year. We were on-hand for the official press unveiling of the Pebble e-paper watch, which is expected to start shipping to over 80,000 backers later this month. We also spotted Martian Watches, CooKoo, I’mWatch, and a small handful of other watches designed to pair and work with your iPhone or other mobile devices. Many have seen the Pebble, up until now, as the frontrunner mainly due to the 10 million in funding it raised through Kickstarter. While rumor has it Apple is interested in creating a smart watch of its own, we will hear a lot more about smart watches in 2013 if CES is any indication. Over the past week and a half, I had the chance to put one of these smart watches to the test: the Bluetooth 4.0 “Passport” from Martian Watches.

A few things to note right off the bat: First, unlike the Pebble and I’m Watch, which integrate a larger display, the focus of Martian Watches is voice command. There is some debate whether a smart watch, one that the average iPhone user might use on a daily basis, should resemble an iPod nano-like touchscreen or a more traditional timepiece design. Martian Watches is going with the latter, but it integrates a small 96-by-16 pixel OLED display capable of displaying notifications and scrolling text for incoming messages and calls.

While Pebble and others hope to create an ecosystem of third-party apps that can run on small, touch-enabled displays, the name of the game is voice command for Martian Watches. That means, in the case of iPhone users, you’ll be able to activate and control Siri right from your wrist. It also means as Siri improves and adds more functionality, your Martian Watch does too. However, Martian packs some other non-Siri features that make it a true competitor to the other Bluetooth smart watches hitting the market…

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 9, 2013

Amongst the crowded booths of case makers and Bluetooth speaker products at CES, today we came across a few interesting new iOS accessories hitting the market in the near future. The first is the i-Massager from China-based company E-Tek. The i-Massager is a certified medical TENS product (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that uses an iPhone app to control the frequency and intensity of the massaging pulsations it emits. The app will be available on the App Store when the product eventually launches sometime in March, and it provides access to preset massage patterns while also allowing you to fine tune the experience and even save your preference to the unit for use without your iPhone at a later date. There will be a 30-pin version of the product for iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3, but also a Bluetooth variant that will launch for compatibility with Lightning iOS devices. The company hasn’t set a retail price, but hinted it should be well under $100.

The i-Massager wasn’t the only iOS-connected massage product being shown off at CES today. Below is a product called iMusic BodyRhythm. It is a massaging vest that syncs with the music on your iOS device. The product launched on a Kickstarter this morning, and it comes with a companion app that will allow you to select a song to sync the massage to, increase the intensity, and even play drums or shake the device to control the thumping of the massage while playing along to a song. You’ll also be able to use the massage vest without syncing it to music or an app. iMusic BodyRhythm is supposed to hit mass production for $149 retail in March, but we went hands-on today at CES:

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 8, 2013

Cashwrap-Incipio

Live from the CES show floor at the Las Vegas convention center, accessory maker Incipio just finished showing us their new product for iPhone. Known as a Cashwrap, and landing in March 2013, it is an NFC-enabled iPhone case that allows iOS users to take advantage of the ISIS Mobile Wallet service that officially launched in October on AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon for NFC-enabled Android devices in select regions. Incipio also informed us that it has teamed up with AT&T on the project—making Cashwrap AT&T’s ISIS solution for iPhone coming.

The product will launch for iPhone 4 and 4S initially and will be available for sale through AT&T brick-and-mortar locations for $60 to $70. Incipio’s full press release and a short video of the Cashwrap up close and personal from the CES show floor below: expand full story

Trade-in value on broken iPhone 4S as much as mint condition Galaxy S2

Here are some interesting charts from Gazelle at CES that compare trade-in values of the iPhone versus the competition. As you can see from the images above and below, the iPhone, like many Apple products, have tendency of retaining a higher trade-in value longer than other devices. In many situations, months after the release of a device, a broken iPhone 4S with a completely shattered display is worth more or about the same as a seemingly mint condition Galaxy S2 or Galaxy Nexus. A gallery of all the stats Gazelle had on display at CES is below:

ThinShield, the world’s lightest and thinnest iPhone 5 case

Sanho, the company behind the HyperJuice external battery products for Mac that we’ve reviewed in the past, just unveiled its latest lineup of products at CES 2013. While introducing some minor updates to its HyperJuice 2 unit (it’s now 12W instead of 10W), as well as the second generation of its iUSBport product (now with two USB ports), I was surprisingly most impressed by its new eco-friendly polypropylene iPhone 5 case…

At just 0.3mm thin, ThinShield is the world’s lightest and thinnest case, according to Sanho, and will land in Q1 for just $20. Normally, I do not use a case on my iPhone 5 (I opt for a leather sleeve instead), mainly because of the extra bulk it adds to the device. Good news for those that come from the same line of thinking: the ThinShield is barely noticeable, especially when throwing black on black or white on white (depending on your iPhone color). Thanks to ThinShield, you’ll soon be able to get scratch and dirt protection while still being able to enjoy the design Apple intended. I’ll be first in line.

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 7, 2013

Eton-Solar-CES-2013

Eton, a company known for its hand-cranked, turbine-powered radios and audio accessories, today announced a few interesting new solar powered products for iOS devices. The new lineup includes the Rugged Rukus, and the Rukus XL (pictured above), two new solar-powered Bluetooth speakers, both of which include the ability to charge devices through a built-in USB port and more. For those familiar with Eton’s already available Rukus Solar speaker, the new models are essentially its bigger and smaller siblings, but definitely left us impressed at the CES Unveiled event… expand full story

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 6, 2013

LaCie’s CES 2013 lineup includes 5big 5-bay Thunderbolt and NAS Drives as well a ‘unique’ Philippe Starck designed portable

LaCie is throwing down two more 5big drive enclosures for CES this week. Starting at $1,199.00, the Thunderbolt version boasts up to 20TB capacity and transfer rates that extend to 785MB/sec. Meanwhile, the much less expensive Gig Ethernet NAS version is aimed at small business and starts at just $549. Both look like stellar products, and we’re hoping to get some hands-on time later this week at CES.

On the other end of the ‘useful’ spectrum lies LaCie’s new offering: a Philippe Starck ‘Blade Runner’ USB 3.0 4TB drive. The boat designer‘s enclosure looks like a giant hard drive heat sink, but I’m not sure if it is functional. Fewer than 10,000 of these $299 devices will be produced…thankfully.

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 4, 2013

1977CES02 This is what CES looked like the last time Apple attended. J/K. Via the Verge

The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show is almost here, with official CES show floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center opening up next week on Jan. 8. To kick things off, hundreds of companies and the press will invade Las Vegas this weekend for three days of pre-show product demos, press conferences, and more from the majority of the tech industry’s biggest names. Samsung, Sony, NVIDIA, Intel, Toshiba, and LG are just a few of the companies with scheduled announcements, but there will surely be more than a few surprises with over 3,000 exhibitors setting up shop. Apple’s last official appearance at CES was in 1992 with John Sculley’s keynote introduction of the Newton, but its presence at the show remains with hundreds of new Apple-related products unveiled every year.

9to5Mac is on its way to Vegas to bring you full coverage of the best products from the show. But, until then, here’s a wrap-up of what we already know will be there and what else you can expect to see at CES 2013:

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 3, 2013

iHome teases new Lightning-enabled docks ahead of CES 2013

Ahead of CES 2013 taking place in Las Vegas next week, popular dock/speaker manufacturer iHome has teased its first Lightning-enabled line. The iPhone 5, iPad mini, and fourth-generation iPad enabled speakers are set to be shown off in-depth at the company’s booth next week, something many speaker manufacturers will look to do to highlight their Lightning-enabled products. The first is the iDL100 Triple Charging Stereo that will ship for $149.99 and be able to charge two devices through Lightning docks, and it features a USB dock for other devices and a 3.5MM headphone jack. Secondly, iHome will unveil another one of its retro boomboxes for $199 (as seen below). The iBT44 features wireless capabilities with Airplay, which uses Bluetooth to stream audio, and it sports USB charging. You bet we’ll take a closer look at CES next week, as the iDL100 with its triple charging looks especially interesting.

Consumer Electronics Show Stories March 20, 2012

We first profiled the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo at CES in January and noted the extraordinary speed of the drives, especially when daisy chained (above find 780MB/s read, 600+MB/s write). Today, Macrumors notes that Western Digital is making the drives available for $599 (4TB) and $699 (6TB).  While those prices are steep, they fall in line with new Thunderbolt parts across the line.

We’ve reviewed the much slower Firewire/USB Western Digital Studio 6TB drives and came away impressed. Those retail for around $430 currently ($270 less than the Thunderbolt version) but use energy efficient (read: slower) internal drives and slower Firewire 800 connectivity options.

Notably B&H Photo and Video is selling the Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo already with $50 discounts (6TB – $649, 4TB- $549) and tax only in New York but without solid shipping dates. expand full story

Consumer Electronics Show Stories February 14, 2012

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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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 11, 2012

I had a chance to meet with Samsung Storage solutions at CES 2012 this week and got the low down on its new OEM SSDs that Apple tends to buy in large numbers.  Samsung and Toshiba are the OEMs that provide the SSDs in MacBook Airs.  Samsung’s 470 OEM SSD product is noticeably faster than the Toshiba model that Apple also puts in otherwise identical MacBook Airs.  We have talked about the speed difference before and how Air-buyers often will pay a premium for the faster Samsung drives.

Well, the speed difference is about to get even more noticeable. Samsung told me that it sold out of the 470 series OEM SSDs late last year and the company only makes a much faster variety: the 830 series.

How fast is the 830 Series controller/chips?  I had a chance to speed test the popular 2.5-inch 830 model late last year when it debuted.  Typical speeds were over 400MB/s write and 500MB/s reads (below, left).  That is almost twice as fast as the current MacBook Air SSD from Samsung (below, right), which itself is significantly faster than Toshiba’s SSD.

Samsung stopped short of announcing it is shipping the 830s to Apple, but the company confirmed it ran out of 470s a while ago and all of its SSD customers were receiving the updated 830 series. Samsung also confirmed that Apple is still a customer.

Today I ventured to the Las Vegas Apple Store to check the speeds of the MacBook Airs.  I checked a new 128GB MacBook Air right out of the box which had the same “APPLE SSD SM128C” listed in System Profiler as my year-old Air.  I checked the speed and it is indeed the old disk (same as above, right), which means the new Samsung SSDs haven not hit stores —at least here anyway.

Theoretically, a few things could happen at this point…

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 10, 2012

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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Waterproofing your iPhone the old-school way has a major downside to it knowing the majority of water-resistant cases add bulk to your device and are downright ugly. At this year’s CES, companies that have solved this problem somewhat effectively are attracting attention from big media and attendees. Liquipel tackled the issue with an oleophobic-like coating that, well, repels water. The nano-sized coating is barely visible to the naked eye and it keeps electronics working even when submerged into a bucket of water, as seen in the clip above. The catch? You need to send your device to Liquipel to apply the coating for you at a $59 value. Check out the video above: It may look like a hoax, but it is the real deal. Another company employs a similar technique, as witnessed in the below clip.

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UPDATE 1: As several commenters pointed out, it’s probably meant as a gag as Intel executive at one point joked about driving one handed and then without hands at all. The distinction remains unclear though due to audio not being clear enough. Nevertheless, the question remains: Why run the thing through backstage and not give a real-life demo?

UPDATE 2: Acknowledging “the confusion”, the publication followed-up with hands-on video showing F1 2011 running in real-time on the exact same system that Mooley Eden had been using to run the pre-recorded VLC video demo. Find it included at the article bottom, below the fold.

It looks like chip giant Intel has gone too far by attempting to have prospective buyers sold on Ultrabooks. Bright Side of News* editor Anshel Sag caught Intel’s Mooley Eden cheating during yesterday’s press conference at the CES show in Las Vegas. Mooley can be seen in the below video fake-driving a commonplace racing game by Codemasters called F1 2011.

In reality —and you can see it briefly at the beginning of the clip— he simply played back a video file using VLC media player and proceeded to fool the audience into believing they were witnessing a live demonstration of the graphical capabilities of the Ivy Bridge platform that powers forthcoming Ultrabook notebooks.

This prompted the author to dub the unbelievable move a display as “a gross distrust of their own demo.”  Intel promised a massive advertising campaign to help push MacBook Air-like notebooks that have been struggling to steal the limelight of Apple’s machine.

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 9, 2012

The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock.

If Consumer Electronic Show announcements are an indication, 2012 will be the year Thunderbolt technology picks up significant steam as this year saw a limited uptake stemming from exclusive industry support by early adopter Apple, which rolled out Thunderbolt across its MacBook Air, iMac and Mac mini range.

First up, Belkin is out with a Thunderbolt-enabled dock that allows your MacBook Air to connect to a wide range of peripherals using just one Thunderbolt cable. Akin to its IDF prototype device, the Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock provides a selection of ports that mirror the new 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt display.

According to Belkin, which previewed the stylish port replicator at CES 2012 yesterday, it will feature a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, one HDMI port, 3.5mm audio port, three USB 2.0 jacks and two Thunderbolt ports —one upstream and one downstream. If it came with USB3.0, it would be a must-have. The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock will be available in September 2012 for $299.

Next up, the Elgato Thunderbolt SSD, pictured below. It is first bus-powered Thunderbolt drive that does not need a separate power brick. CNET explained it is quite a feat considering that 10 volts of power of the Thunderbolt interface is shared by the interface itself plus the cable, which has active parts. Sporting a 2.5-inch 128 GB or 256GB SSD unit capped at SATA3 speeds of 6Gbps, the drive will be available in February for approximately $400 or $600, respectively.

Elgato also promised a thinner and short Thunderbolt cable that will be more suitable for this thin external drive than Apple’s standard $49 Thunderbolt cable. Go past the fold for much more Thunderbolt gear unveiled at CES 2012. expand full story

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 8, 2012

The iCade is an attachable accessory for the Apple iPad that functions as a portable arcade cabinet, but now the device’s manufacturer unveiled three new products under the popular line that toggle the iPhone and iPod Touch.

ION Audio showcased the products at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The manufacturer recreated the original arcade setup by ditching the cabinet exterior in favor of landscape support.

The first product is the iCade Mobile for iPhone 4/4S or iPod Touch. According to Engadget, it is a handheld with gaming buttons and a D-pad, which subsequently adds 1.5-inches onto each side of the iOS mobile device. The iCade Mobile also allows users to switch between portrait and landscape mode. ION said it expects about 100 games to be compatible with the product, and the retail price is currently set at $79.99 USD.

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Pictures for each new iCade product are displayed after the break.

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 5, 2012

Corning Gorilla Glass 2 to debut at CES 2012: Will latest innovation be on iPad 3 or iPhone 5?

Corning Inc., announced today its plan to unveil Gorilla Glass 2 at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, and the company said more product details would be made available Jan. 9. The Corning, N.Y.-based company plans to “showcase the critical role of highly engineered specialty glass in addressing emerging trends” […]

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 1, 2012

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Various reports throughout the year claimed LG is providing the television behind the Apple HDTV.  However, nothing conclusive has surfaced.

As far as the big display makers are concerned, Apple’s relationship with LG is probably the strongest.  LG makes iPod Touch and iPhone Retina Displays, some iPad displays, and Apple secured a $500 million dollar investment in LG displays in 2009. The net investment was a temporary exclusive on panels for the 27-inch display that Apple’s iMacs and Thunderbolt Displays now use. Sony also makes OLEDs, but it does not have a strong relationship with Apple – at least as far as displays are concerned. The other big OLED maker is Samsung, and it is currently tangled with Apple in patent disputes.

With that said, look at the things that will be shown at the Consumer Electronic show. They have a 4 mm bezel -that is half the thickness of an iPhone 4S- and weighs in at a paltry 16.5-pounds. In addition, things like “1,000 times faster than LED/LCD displays” and “infinite contrast ratio” makes this sound like one of the best displays of 2012.

(Full sized images and the press release are below.):

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Consumer Electronics Show Stories December 7, 2011

That iPhone dock up above is no joke (notice the scale of the iPhone in it). It was built as a one-off for CES 2012 by Behringer, the award-winning innovator of affordable professional audio and music equipment.  Known appropriately as iNuke, this $30,000 8ftx4ft, 700 pound dock pumps out a handy 10,000 Watts of power.  All in a package the size of a refrigerator.  How about a giveaway, Behringer?

We’ll be on hand at CES this year to check it out. PR below: expand full story

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 10, 2011

COMPUTERWORLD: After a CES no-show, Verizon is teasing us with an iPhone-generated Tweet today on the eve of its press event where it is expected Verizon will at last introduce the iPhone, meaning US customers will now enjoy some choice of which network carries their iPhone. The move should also boost Apple in its battle with Android. So, what do we know?

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More news from Apple’s AirPlay partner, BridgeCo, the company which manufactures the silicon used in AirPlay devices.

AirPlay devices weren’t so apparent at CES this year, though iHome, B&W and Klipsch all showed solutions implementing the standard, which enables users to stream audio from an iOS 4 device to an enabled speaker system. expand full story

Consumer Electronics Show Stories January 8, 2011

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Remember that Thinkgeek iCade Arcade box that was ‘demo’ed on April Fools’ Day last year?? Well, it got such a warm reception, and frankly isn’t rocket science to create.

ION has partnered with Atari®, the first name in classic arcade games, to bring a huge suite of classic arcade titles including Asteroids® to market with iCade support built right in. Grab hold of iCADE’s full-sized joystick and smash the arcade buttons for commanding control of iPad’s on-screen action. This truly unique arcade cabinet and game-controller for iPad will provide hours of action and nostalgia for years to come. Enter the iCADE and go back to the future

Full Press Release below: expand full story

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