With each passing year, Bluetooth finds its way into more products which never seemed to need Bluetooth before. Sometimes Bluetooth functionality is beneficial, or downright innovative. Other times, we're left wondering what the point is. Vicks has introduced its SmartTemp Wireless Smartphone Thermometer ($25), a Bluetooth body temperature thermometer which requires a smartphone and the company's free app to take readings. The app does more than that, of course — it can set up individualized profiles for family members, save a history of temperature readings, and set up reminders for the last reading or dosage. SmartTemp takes its readings in 8 seconds, which isn't the slowest thermometer out there, but it's certainly not the quickest, either. Vicks claims the thermometer has "professional accuracy" as with its other, non-Bluetooth thermometers.
If “life blogging” or even simply keeping a personal journal of your activities is your thing, you’ll definitely be interested in taking a look at Bloom’s newly-updated Day One 2 ($20). The company has taken its popular note-taking and journaling app and pumped it up with some great new features, including support for multiple journals and multiple photos per journal entry, an entirely redesigned and modernized user interface, and the company’s own Day One Sync 2.0 service, to tie it in with other Macs and the companion Day One 2 for IOS.
A new bipartisan bill introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives aims to bar states from introducing their own bans on smartphone encryption, The Verge reports. At the urging of local district attorney’s offices, assemblymen in New York and California have introduced identical bills that would ban smartphone encryption for phones sold in those states and fine manufacturers for each phone sold with secure disk encryption. While critics argue it wouldn’t be feasible to tailor phone encryption capabilities for specific states, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) have introduced the Ensuring National Constitutional Rights of Your Private Telecommunications (ENCRYPT) Act to override state and local government encryption laws, over concerns that having varying bills on encryption would endanger the country and the competitiveness of American companies.
A job posting on Apple’s website shows the company is looking to expand its offering of clock face options for Apple Watch and add new complications that “push the envelope on human-computer interactions.” The Watch SDK released alongside watchOS 2 allows developers to write their own watch face complications, but so far Apple has only released three new official watch faces in watchOS 2 — Time-Lapse, Photo and Photo Album — and included another special complication for those buying the Hermès collection version of the watch. [via iPhoneHacks]
Recent comments from Apple’s main partner in content delivery hint at the company ramping up its in-house capability to provide faster downloads and streaming speeds to users, Business Insider reports. During an earnings call, Akamai CEO Tom Leighton forecasted a serious drop in revenue from one of the company’s “largest customers” — assumed to be Apple — resulting from “their increased do-it-yourself, or DIY efforts.” Apple is investing heavily in its own custom-designed data centers, and streaming services analysts have tracked OS X downloads now coming directly from Apple as opposed to their usual delivery through Akamai. Tim Cook has put a renewed emphasis on Apple’s commitment to online services like iCloud, but the improved in-house content delivery network would also bolster Apple’s rumored plans to offer streaming TV service, allowing the company more control over the streaming quality and lag that end-users would experience.
After a public beta period that started last December, Apple Music is finally available on all Sonos speakers worldwide starting today. Apple Music users can add the service by selecting “Add Music Services” from any Sonos controller app, scrolling down to the Apple Music icon, and logging in. Sonos users will have access to the same For You, New, Radio and My Music categories they would see on Apple devices, and will be able to stream the entire Apple Music library through multiple speakers in separate rooms.
In our iLounge Deals today you can get the Beyond Ink Pen for only $49 — 30% off the regular price. This next-level pen not only works as a stylus for your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, but can also double as a USB drive and iPhone charger. It works as a normal ballpoint pen when writing on paper, and you can switch to a stylus in seconds to use on your iPad, store up to 16GB of data on the built-in USB flash drive, and charge up your iPhone with the built-in phone cable.
Satechi’s new headphone stand is more than just that, and the company makes it clear with the product’s name: Aluminum USB 3.0 Headphone Stand ($35). So yes, it is a headphone stand, complete with two hooks for cable management in back and a pad up top to keep the headphones from being scratched by the aluminum construction. But the stand doubles as a USB hub, offering three USB 3.0 ports. A USB cable comes with the stand, to connect to your Mac, thus enabling the hub. A 3.5mm port is also included to plug in your headphones. Aluminum USB 3.0 Headphone Stand comes in silver, space gray, or gold, as seen here.
Apple Stores worldwide began offering screen protector installation for iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus users starting today. As previously reported, Apple has partnered with Belkin to place specialized screen protector installation machines in the back of stores, allowing customers to have their screen protector properly installed free of charge after they buy it. Two types of screen protectors — “Invisiglass” and “Anti-Glare” — are being offered. Apple will guarantee the installation of screen protectors and offer a free replacement and re-attempt at installation if the protector isn’t installed successfully for the customer. Many stores began rolling out the new process last week, but it is available everywhere as of today.
The Russian government is considering a bill that would increase taxes on a dozen categories of digital products and services offered by foreign companies like Apple, including ads, games, movies, marketplace transactions and cloud computing, Bloomberg reports. In a recent interview described as “peppered with expletives,” Russian Internet Czar German Klimenko said he is pushing to raise the taxes to level the playing field for Russian competitors, following the lead of other European countries. “When you buy an app from Google Play or the App Store anywhere in Europe, VAT is charged at the place of payment, but not here in our banana republic,” Klimenko said. The new bill proposes an 18 percent value-added tax on an estimated $3.9 billion in profits earned on digital media and services by Apple, Google and other foreign technology companies. Klimenko also railed against Apple’s compliance with U.S. sanctions on Russia after the country annexed Crimea, calling that decision “the point of no return.” Apple declined to comment on the proposed tax increase.