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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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