Here's the the question: you can charge an iPhone with any AC-to-USB adapter. So how does Apple get off charging $29 for theirs? Ken Shirriff took one completely apart to figure it out, and it turns out, Apple's charger goes above and beyond what's needed--it's legitimately more complex and sturdier and more capable than other chargers. Upgrades include "super-strong AC prongs, and the complex over-temperature / over-voltage shutdown circuit," as well as a bunch of hardware designed to keep electromagnetic interference to a minimum. Of course, the added hardware probably costs a dollar, and Apple sells it for $20 more than competitors, but still! Teardowns: so useful! [via @mattbuchanan]
Our friends over at Field & Stream have a newish iPhone app that we'll totally use, provided we're still fishing in the coming world of genetically modified salmon and robotic fish. It turns your pictures of your catch into a sort of journal, with time, date, weather conditions, and location, plus added info like type and size of fish, type and color of lure, and more, which you can then share with your fishing friends or just use it to brag to those stuck in office buildings. Now Field & Stream is running a contest--the best photo gets in the magazine, and the winner gets some nice Columbia gear. Read more here.
The potential of tablets to transform the way we learn is pretty extraordinary. The first really "wow" app we saw for the iPad was a re-imagining of the periodic table. Wonders of the Universe, a new app from the BBC, HarperCollins, and Professor Brian Cox, takes you zooming through our universe, from a broad view at multiple galaxies all the way down to a look at subatomic particles--with more than a film's worth of videos, a staggering amount of gorgeous space photos, and hundreds of interesting articles as well. It takes the idea of an interactive textbook far beyond what we've seen before.
Is it heavier? Faster? How do old apps look? How's the LTE? You asked, we answered
By Dan Nosowitz and John Mahoney
Posted 03.20.2012 at 2:40 pm 23 Comments
The new iPad is an uncomplicated update. It's a spec bump year, not a redesign year: what's different, aside from the stunning high-res Retina display, is mostly inside. Internal specifications are important, but what matters most is how it feels to actually use. We've been using the new iPad since Friday, chatting with you guys on Twitter all the while, and here we've pulled together our review as a list of frequently asked questions and answers aimed to help you make that all-important decision: to buy or not to buy?
Eventually, practically every conceivable pair of disparate technologies gets combined into a single package—cameras and cellphones, game consoles and e-readers, chocolate and peanut butter. The combination of speakers and lightbulbs seems like it would be one of the last ideas we'd see, but, well, the future is now. GiiNii’s on-the-nose-named AudioBulb brings these strange bedfellows together for the first time.
Without conducting some tests on a smartphone, it’s hard to tell whether an upgrade is overdue or just a waste of money. The most important component to benchmark is the CPU, which is most easily done on Android phones—the free application Quadrant generates a graph comparing processor speed with that of other popular phones.
News regarding Carrier IQ, a third-party service loaded on certain smartphones that's capable of tracking users and even recording keystrokes, has been spreading rapidly in the past few days, though the original discovery happened back in March. The world is still learning more about what the service specifically does, but the latest news is that references to Carrier IQ were found in Apple's iOS, the operating system used by the iPhone and iPad. Here's what you need to know.
The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is a simple idea: take a big hard drive with you, wherever you want to go, that doesn't need any advanced setup, that doesn't need to be connected to a Wi-Fi network, and can beam your music, videos, photos, and documents to whatever device you happen to have with you--iPad, smartphone, laptop, whatever. And it does exactly that. Congratulations, iPad/smartphone/etc owner: You now have 500GB of extra storage, no matter which device you're using.
We're excited about NFC, with all its wallet-replacing, house-unlocking, Wi-Fi-password-remembering potential. But NFC does require a hardware chip, and that means we're at least a few years from real adoption. The recently announced Zoosh is a wireless protocol that can handle many of the features we're so anxiously awaiting in NFC--but without any new hardware, you could theoretically get Zoosh on your smartphone with a mere app download.
The remote control for these fun devices isn't under the couch
By Caitlin Kearney
Posted 04.12.2011 at 2:41 pm 0 Comments
The toy department just got its game on with technology that transforms your smartphone into a remote control. This switch means you'll be able to guide helicopters into smoother swoops and swirls and to play augmented-reality games with friends.
Some 45 million Americans have a ready-made, near-universal remote control in their pockets. We already use smartphones to turn up home stereos, scroll through iTunes playlists, and pause Apple TVs. The devices’ built-in radios, such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, can also control toys.
In just over a week of availability, the iPad 2 is on a 4-5 week back order online, and is practically impossible to get with expedience in any shop anywhere in the country. Even for Apple, it has all the looks of a staggering sales achievement for what is, on paper, a very modest spec-bump to a machine already owned by over 15 million people. Something's going on here.
Apple announced the latest iPad today, and while it may not have the ultra-HD screen or SD card slot we'd been hoping for, it's still an improvement over the first iteration of the tablet, both in hardware and software. Chief among those: the new Apple A5 chip, a dual-core processor like the Motorola Xoom's and BlackBerry PlayBook's, and both a front-facing camera for FaceTime chat and a rear-facing camera.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.