Apple plans on unveiling its new wearable device alongside its two new iPhones on September 9, Re/Code reports. As expected, the new device will “make good use of” Apple’s new HealthKit and HomeKit platforms, though how the latter will be implemented isn’t quite clear. The wearable device has generally been referred to as iWatch, but the true name is still unknown at this point. According to the report, Apple will likely still hold an event in October — that event would undoubtedly introduce new iPads, at the very least.
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World’s First USB Case for iPhone 5s
A new phone case by CasePlug proves you can do more with an ordinary USB plug then previously thought. The featured, built-in USB mechanism, has a rotating, quick-release plug that’s used for mounting, syncing, charging and kickstand for your phone.
A new group of alleged iPhone 6 parts have been posted on Chinese parts site ElekWorld, with a heretofore unseen front panel variation included among the pictures. While a picture of a completed front panel assembly for the 4.7” iPhone 6 looks similar to what’s been seen before, a separate picture of the front panel doesn’t match — it shows an extra sensor near the FaceTime camera. If this part is real, it’s possible that small dot could be a security light that notifies a user when the camera is on, as seen on Apple’s Macs. Many of the other pictures in the leak have been seen previously, though the apparent circular True Tone flash for the 5.5” iPhone 6 is also included.
Apple suppliers are getting ready to manufacture a new iPad with a 12.9-inch screen by the first quarter of 2015, Bloomberg reports. Such a device has already been rumored for some time — previous reports claimed Apple was testing a larger iPad, with one late 2013 report claiming the company was testing five different 12.9-inch iPad prototypes for a release of two possible versions of such a device. Talk about the device has been quiet for some time until now, as the larger iPad was originally expected to see release sometime this year. Apple spokeswoman Trudy Miller declined comment on the new report.
Satechi has been working towards the ultimate keyboard experience for Mac users for nearly a decade. The newly-released BT Wireless Smart Keyboard ($55) is its latest attempt at a compelling multi-platform keyboard device. Designed to sync with 5 devices at a time, it’s an ultra-efficient keyboard for users with productivity in mind. Using the keyboard’s function key in addition to the 1-5 number keys, users can seamlessly switch between connected devices.
More new channels have been added to Apple TV, this time in Scandinavia. SVT Play has been added as a channel in Sweden, and NRK has been added for Apple TV users in Norway. SVT Play is a free service offering on-demand and live television, including sports, news, drama, documentaries, and children’s shows. NRK is a Norwegian public broadcaster now offering 40,000 shows on demand through Apple TV. Earlier today, Apple added Showtime Anytime to Apple TV in the U.S. and brought back its iTunes Festival channel, as well. [via 9to5Mac]
Speaker makers generally avoid the word "waterproof" for even their most heavily ruggedized designs — quite a few supposedly "waterproof" speakers are later reclassified as "water-resistant" or "splash-resistant" after failing certification tests. Grace Digital's new Ecoxgear-branded Ecostone ($150) is an exception to the general rule. With years of experience selling speakers that can float on water, Grace is able to legitimately describe its latest sound system as waterproof, shockproof, and even snowproof. It's a bigger yet less expensive alternative to the Braven BRV-X we tested earlier this year, though it has a few issues that prevent it from being definitively superior.
Apple has just added the Showtime Anytime channel to Apple TV, following its reintroduction of the iTunes Festival channel. The new channel is basically Showtime’s version of HBO Go — it’s been available on the App Store for some time. Showtime Anytime has on-demand content and live streams of Showtime East and Showtime West for authenticated TV subscribers. Some free full episodes of Showtime shows are even available without cable or satellite authentication. Interestingly, the channel’s name may scroll from right to left when it’s selected, as there are too many characters to fit all at once with the 720p version of the Apple TV. No scrolling is evident on later 1080p Apple TV models.
L.A. Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has suspended the school system’s highly-publicized contract with Apple to provide iPads to students, the Los Angeles Times reports. The contract would have provided all students in the country’s second-largest school system with iPads, but recent accusations claim that Deasy and deputy superintendent Jaime Aquino had “especially close ties” to Apple executives. “Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.,” Deasy wrote in a memo to the Board of Education. “Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the (project).”
A district technology committee found numerous problems with the bidding process, including that Aquino appeared to conspire with executives from Pearson — the company that was to provide curriculum on the devices — within an email. “I believe we would have to make sure that your bid is the lowest one,” he wrote. Aquino was formerly an executive with a Pearson affiliate before joining the L.A. school system. Despite the new controversy, Deasy reportedly believes Apple and Pearson will still participate as bidders in the new process for the school’s technology contract.
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