While Apple may not be exhibiting at the annual CES show in Las Vegas, Apple is making an impact on the show, according to one columnist. In addition the numerous accessories and gadgets for the company's tremendously popular iPod, Apple is on the minds of many of the largest consumer electronics companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Sony--behind closed doors, many companies are struggling to develop strategies to counter Apple's gaining momentum in the digital music/video industry and in the consumer electronics space. "Jobs' company is on the minds of lots of tech executives these days, whether or not they mention it out loud. Bill Gates' presentation gets graded, consciously or not, by the standard set by Jobs' famously theatrical presentations--and his performance Wednesday night was 'his attempt to out-Job Jobs, and it didn't work,' sniffed one tech executive cum drama critic."
Gefen this week introduced a range of connectivity solutions for Apple's Cinema Displays. The new HD-Mate acts as the interface between multiple HDTV sources and an Apple Cinema Display. It supports high definition resolutions up to 1920x1080i and comes equipped with one DVI and two component inputs that connect satellite television systems, camcorders, DVD players and gaming systems such as the Xbox 360. A total of three HD sources can be connected at the same time using the HD-Mate, which allows the user to easily switch between sources using a simple push-button menu on the unit itself. It features intuitive on-screen menu pages, accessible through the menu buttons on the HD-Mate unit, to offer image adjustments to accommodate different view outputs and screen sizes.
Gefen (booth 2746) this week introduced its Wireless USB Extender, which allows any USB 2.0 peripheral to be powered from remote distances up to 30 feet from a Mac without cables. The first-of-its-kind device for the US market supports the instantaneous transfer of data using Freescale Semiconductor's Ultra-Wideband wireless solution. The Wireless USB Extender uses small sender and receiver units connected to the computer and the extended USB device. It can connect cameras, keyboards, printers or any USB 2.0 device located up to 30 feet from the computer. Freescale's UWB technology enables high transfer rates of video, audio and data streams wirelessly, reaching rates 100 times faster than Bluetooth technology while maintaining wire-like quality, according to initial testing.
ezGear has introduced its ezStart nano Starter kit for owners of Apple's iPod nano. The company says the value-priced Kit includes everything to use, charge, share, and protect the iPod nano, including ezCharge Car Charger, ezPower wall charger, ezSkin nano protective case, ezGold earphone splitter, and ezCassette cassette adapter. The ezCharge Car Charger delivers fuse protection and is compatible with the iPod USB synchronization cable, while the ezPower Wall Charger is a power transformer that charges the Nano via your iPod USB synchronization cable. The ezSkin nano is a silicon case that protects the Nano from dirt and scratches and includes an integrated clickwheel cover, a screen protector, a removable belt clip, and a removable neck strap. The kit included with the Frost white or Onyx black versions. ezGear says that the five items sell separately for $130, but are available for only $60 via the ezStart nano Starter Kit.
Audiovox this week introduced several high-tech digital products at CES, including a universal iPod docking station that recharges while playing iPod or MP3 content (model CE602IP). Features include super bass speakers, iPod shuffle adapter and AC/DC adapter. The company says that it is compatible with all iPod products and other MP3 players. It will retail for $70. (Expected date of availability was not noted.) The company also launched a digital MP3 player housed in designer-style sunglasses (model MP256SG). The device includes an interchangeable, polarized shatter-proof lenses, 256MB flash memory, a built-in rechargeable battery, and up to 8.5 hours of music playback (per charge). Additional features include digital voice recorder, integrated microphone, PC/Mac compatible USB drive, and support for MP3/WMA/ADCPM. It offers standard USB 2.0 connectivity (via an included cable) and ships with carrying bag for $130.
Valor Multimedia has introduced the first multimedia interface for the iPod, which it says enables any iPod to play video on any multimedia system--either in the home or in the car. The company says that its new iLink enables users to to watch movies stored on the iPod, listen to both MP3 and WMA audio files as well as iTunes audio files, view photos on any attched video monitor, and more. Users can also control the iPod with a wireless IR remote control and display on-screen menus on any video display. Valor claims iLink will work with any brand of car or home audio/video product and will charge the iPod when connected.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE