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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Amazon Prime Now available via website
Amazon's Prime Now rapid delivery service is now available to use from the web, giving users an alternative to using the normal mobile app. Available as a free option for Prime subscribers in certain areas, the web-based service continues to offer the same selection of goods as the mobile version, and is still free for deliveries within two hours, $8 for within one hour. http://amzn.to/1UvqYgi
SoundCloud Go expands to UK, Ireland
SoundCloud has expanded its subscription service to the United Kingdom and Ireland, its first expansion since launching in the United States in late March. Priced at £10 ($14) per month, SoundCloud Go lets users listen to existing tracks ad-free, as well as complete access to licensed music from major record labels, and the ability to download tracks for offline listening. http://bit.ly/1rhBv35
Maps adds transit for Rio Olympics
On Monday, Apple added public transit directions for Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to its Apple Maps program in advance of the 2016 Summer Olympics, which begin on August 5. The addition marks the first time a Brazilian city has gotten the upgraded public transit maps, which include station maps as well as transit schedules and tracking. The transit directions cover ferries as well as bus, subway, and light rail lines. The company has recently expanded transit directions to Montreal in Canada, and Seattle, Portand (Oregon), and other US cities.
Ive opens Met Gala fundraiser in NYC
On Monday, Apple SVP of Design Sir Jonathan Ive opened the press preview of the annual Met Gala fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City. Ive is serving as co-chair with Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and Apple is helping sponsor the event, which is themed "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology." He said the company is "thrilled" to participate in the Gala, and tied the company to the theme by saying that Apple's goal "has always been to try to create objects as beautiful as they are functional," adding that the company is "only starting" on its path of making products "more personal." http://bit.ly/1Y3EHKg
Tim Cook on CNBC Mad Money tonight
Apple CEO Tim Cook will be making an hour-long appearance on CNBC's investment show Mad Money this evening at 6PM ET. Slated for discussion, according to CNBC, are "Apple's future in China, Cook's outlook on innovation, what's next for iPhone, the Apple Watch, growth of Apple services and whether there are any potential acquisitions coming, among others."
Dev hacks Windows 95 onto Apple Watch
A developer has created a YouTube video that shows off a working version of Windows 95 running (very slowly) on an Apple Watch. Creator Nick Lee says that the OS takes about an hour to boot on the Watch because it is running in emulation rather than natively. While the project has no practical value, it does demonstrate how powerful mobile devices are in comparison to computers from the beginning of this century, as well as illustrating how far computing has come in the last 15 years -- long before smartphones, tablets, the cloud, and many more innovations that have come about since. http://bit.ly/1Y3AS85
WhatsApp working on Mac desktop app?
Allegedly-leaked information from a WhatsApp beta enthusiast account on Twitter appears to suggest that the messaging service and app maker may be developing native Mac and Windows versions, allowing users who sign up with the service to text each other all over the world using either Wi-Fi or cellular data. The source of the documents is in question, but it would not be unusual for the service to expand onto Mac and Windows desktops. WhatsApp is currently available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nokia, Symbian, and Windows Phone. http://bit.ly/1Ura0zN