Tag - Christmas
We've talked about a number of last-minute gift ideas, and believe it or not even today -- December 24 -- it's not to late to put a physical object in someone's hand. Amazon has one-hour (ish) delivery of selected goods in 16 metropolitan areas around the US (see map below), and a number of stores are still open that can offer popular electronics, household items, and most importantly gift certificates. Online GCs are easy to order as well, but here's another area that works up to and including Christmas Day: gifting an app or app bundle.
It's funny how you've had to work twice as hard in order to get these few short days off but you've done that and now we're into the holidays. So put down your email and instead pick up the wrapping paper, forget your calendar and instead count the hours to Christmas Day and then, the New Year.
Get your coat, it's cold out there. But while regular co-host Malcolm Owen is off working, you and I are going to take a little drive. It's a very British drive so expect a lot of roundabouts – what is it with the UK and roundabouts? – plus some slightly distracted driving, possibly a few near misses, and also, well, not exactly news.
Look, we're not prying, and we're certainly not judging. Yet, if you have left your Christmas shopping this late, perhaps you should be taking a moment to examine why. Late shopping usually means obligation more than, say, fondness, and it always means limited choices and hiked prices. Times are tough for retailers, you can't blame them for capitalizing on those times when someone has given you an unexpected present that you've got to reciprocate. However, you are a Mac and iOS user, you've got options.
On the last day of Hanukkah and just days before Christmas, Apple has given out its annual holiday gift to its employees. This year, in one of the more generous packages in recent memory, workers at all levels of the company will receive some urBeats headphones, and a free nine-month subscription to the Apple Music service. SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue relayed the news to workers through a video message, and employees will receive the Apple Music promo code later this month.
There are a couple of things you can be sure about with Christmas: you've procrastinated from buying for too long to get a good card, but that's okay -- there are no good cards anyway. Certainly, none that say precisely what you want. We're British, so we secretly long for a range of cards with messages like "Happy Holidays to an entirely adequate uncle" and we've always been disappointed. Until now -- while Cardsmith 1.0.1 is really meant for less curmudgeonly people than we seem to be today, it still helps you create personalized cards for any occasion. It just happens that there's a big one coming.
If you don't have an Apple Watch, you may feel that Christmas has already come for people who do -- and you've got a point there. If you do have an Apple Watch, though, you tend to adore it, and there can't be anything better for inserting yourself into a loved one's life and/or attention span than by giving them something to make the Watch even better. It can be done. It can. It's just not easy.
This is where the news went. While you were eating turkey, holidaying with family or simply not looking, there was news. Malcolm Owen was here and this week fills in William Gallagher on everything he missed. That includes the new Apple holiday advert, the potential new Apple moves with Lightning cables and OLED displays plus Christmas Thingies of the Week.
We've been checking our lists twice, chiefly because of syncing issues, and you know how it is. Christmas expands to fill the space you have and nature abhors a news vacuum so in what continues to be a quiet week, One More Thing decks some halls. Wait, is that Christmas or Thanksgiving? It's some holiday or other and we're after celebrating all of them because it's a Grade A excuse to discuss some of the finest technology around.
Mobile analytics firm Flurry posted new data on the holiday buying season on Monday, and summarized its findings on global mobile devices purchases for Christmas in a single sentence: "It's clear that Santa is no longer into cookies -- he prefers Apples." On a worldwide scale, 51.3 percent of mobile activations between December 19 and Christmas Day were Apple devices, outstripping the combined might of all competitors and leaving each individual company -- even Samsung -- far behind.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl
XCOM 2 ships on Steam for Mac, Windows
Feral Interactive today announced that the highly anticipated turn-based strategy game XCOM 2 is out now for OS X and Windows, and is available to buy through Steam and through the Mac App Store shortly. The sequel to the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 is available as a standalone base game and as the XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition. The XCOM 2 Digital Deluxe Edition comprises the base game, the Reinforcement Pack and the XCOM 2 digital soundtrack. Versions start at $60. http://bit.ly/1KuEFsX