Tag - Consumer Reports
A pair of new studies -- including one from the notoriously Apple-averse Consumer Reports -- have shown that despite a lack of official Apple "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" promotions, its mobile products from notebooks to smartphones are widely considered to be the best, and saw industry-beating growth with consumers during the holiday as a result. In particular, the iPad line saw a spike in activations of new purchases, while MacBook owners turned out to be far more satisfied with their purchase than Windows notebook owners.
Testing by Consumer Reports on some practical and aesthetic aspects of the crowded smartwatch field has shown that the Apple Watch is the best of them all. The magazine tested 11 smartwatches for ease of use, heart-rate tracking, scratch resistance, screen readability, step count accuracy, water resistance, and in other areas. The stainless-steel version of the Apple Watch bested all comers in screen readability, ease of use, pairing speed, scratch resistance, water resistance, and heart-rate accuracy.
Customer rights group Consumer Reports has run a survey evaluating the public's opinion of the Time Warner Cable and Comcast merger, and the results strongly disapprove of the combined company. According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents oppose the merger, with 11 percent in favor. The remaining 33 percent had no strong opinion one way or another. However, most respondents still feel that the merger will have negative effects on consumers.
Consumer protection magazine Consumer Reports has now advised readers to "hold off" on buying Google's Nexus 7 tablet, citing significant reported issues with the device's touch screen and built-in GPS. While praising the device generally, the magazine said it would urge caution to its readers until the issues are resolved.
Consumer Reports has released its annual satisfaction survey, which ranks AT&T at the bottom of the list once again. Respondents maintained similar ratings for the carrier, which showed the worst scores of all four major US carriers in last year's survey. Verizon also showed consistency, holding its position as the best-rated major carrier.
In its August issue, Consumer Reports has orchestrated a rare test of 45 smartphones with a focus on their integrated cameras. It finds that the eight-megapixel camera in the T-Mobile G2X was the very best, with very good still images and the best in terms of video quality. The story also includes ratings for stand-alone cameras and camcorders as well as advice on taking good photos.
Barnes & Noble scored a symbolic win on Friday as the new touchscreen Nook topped the Amazon Kindle in Consumer Reports' new e-reader ratings [sub. required]. The new Nook reached 78 points to the Kindle 3G's 77 owing to the simpler, much more focused design. Many features were equal, and the Nook just edge Amazon's reader in format support.
Consumer Reports' refreshed notebook rankings [sub. required] gave Apple the top spot in virtually all notebook rankings. As of late May, the updated MacBook Pros led the 15-inch category with 76 to 78 points versus Dell's XPS 15 at 73 points, while the 17-inch models just edged ahead of the HP dv7 (79 points) with 80 and 81 points. All of the 13-inch models placed second at 70 to 72 points, but they were only topped by Apple's own 13-inch MacBook Air, which leapt ahead at 76 points.
Consumer Reports on Monday disputed claims that the white iPhone 4 was thicker than its black counterpart. Using calipers, the buying advice magazine claimed both color iPhones were about 0.37 inches. It went so far as to try three cases and said all three fit properly.
AT&T is at the back of the rankings for carrier service quality in the US, Consumer Reports said in its latest paper issue. Having already been near the back in the 2009 study, its overall score this year was just 60, well back from T-Mobile's 69. It ranked as "worse" in every category except for text messaging, where it was still below average.
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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
French show carries on with iPhones
Following a prolonged power loss in a French TV studio, the crew was able to use a combination of limited studio lighting and a number of iPhones to continue taping the Saturday episode of talk show On n'est pas couché ("We're Still Awake"), using the resulting footage in the first edited episode. The Plus-model iPhones used for the impromptu shoot completion were either iPhone 6 Plusses (which shoot in 1080p) or 6s Plus models (which can shoot in 4K). The decision to use the iPhones to complete the show was made after a power outage at France 2's studio stretched to more than three hours. http://bit.ly/299wqDt
Scrivener for iOS to arrive in late July
For some long-time Scrivener users, to quote Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonders." As it marks its 10th anniversary in business, developer Keith Blount has announced that the long-awaited iOS version of his creative-writing tool Scrivener is to be submitted to the App Store, following strong praise from beta-testers. The program, expected in late July, will sell for $20 and work with both the iPad and iPhone. When we interviewed Blount last January, he added that Scrivener 3 for Mac would follow along shorty afterwards. http://bit.ly/2901XLE
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu